Contributed by Diane Sheehan & Club Pilates, Mooresville 

After being really sick with an autoimmune disease for a few years, I had really deteriorated beyond my 50 years. The symptoms came on in incremental changes, but before I knew it, taking a shower wore me out to the point that I needed a nap!  Shopping or yardwork exhausted me for an entire day. Formally extremely active, I found myself out of shape, with zero stamina, balance, or flexibility. I knew I needed to get physical, but everything I tried wore me out for days.

I spent a lot of time on Facebook because it is a sedentary activity, and I kept seeing an ad for Club Pilates classes.  I messaged them asking if someone in my condition could do it, and when they responded positively, I booked the class. Natasha, the instructor, introduced herself and asked my goals and made me feel comfortable. I sheepishly told her my main objective was to get healthy and get my life back; after all, I assumed most people were there to lose weight. But she understood and asked questions about my condition. The music began (Bonus! Fun music!), and we went through moves on the equipment. As soon as my legs were in those infamous straps, I was sold! I was astonished at how good that incredible stretch felt.

I began with stretching or beginner’s classes. I could feel it, but I didn’t hurt after. And the improvements came fast. I had read that in 10 classes I would feel better; in 20 classes, I would see a difference; and in 30, others would see a difference. I wanted to get to 30 classes as quickly as possible, so I went every day. I not only lost about six inches off my waist, my posture was drastically improved along with my stamina. Folks started asking me why I looked younger!

My life is back! I can do a stretch class and a reformer class, then grocery shop AND mow the lawn! I go nearly every day because it feels so good, and the 12 inches now off my waist, my fit legs, and my defined arms are a bonus. I still have flares on occasion, but they are few and far between. I am so grateful I found Club Pilates and the supportive encouragement of the staff and members!