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  • Mary Stocker

Here's My Secret...

I’ve been a physical therapist for over 16 years, and I’ve been a Pilates instructor for over 12 years. Want to know something about me? I don’t like exercise. I never have.

I wasn’t really overweight as a child, but most would have called me “chubby”. I always got picked last for teams in gym class and I’ve never done a pull up in my life. I made good grades in school and was a quiet child, so I was a teacher’s pet for the most part, except for Mrs. Raines. Mrs. Raines looked at me derisively every time I walked into her gymnasium. Throughout my whole elementary school career, I never ran the mile as fast as she wanted me to.


I started out exercising because I wanted to lose weight when I got old enough to be concerned with appearance. I remember faithfully going to the step aerobics class at a local church twice a week to try and shed some pounds. I always set up in the back corner and checked my watch frequently. As I got older, this progressed to gym memberships and running. I don’t believe I’ve ever hated anything more than running in my life, although it eventually led me to Pilates after an injury. I always felt like a gerbil running on a wheel anytime I was on a treadmill!


Fast forward through my years of forcing myself to work out because I knew it was good for me. The reason I initially thought to try Pilates was not to rehab from injury (though that is now why I love it!), but because I remembered that while I was in school, I was in dance and show choir, but that never felt like work to me because I enjoyed it. Someone told me that a lot of dancers took Pilates, so I thought I would try it. If you’ve seen my previous blog post, then you know that after one Pilates class, my back injury didn’t bother me. That was an unexpected and very welcome outcome!


Fourteen years after that first class, I do Pilates at least 5 times a week, and I’ve never felt that I was exercising. In fact, if I realize that I have something that’s hurting me or if I feel stiff, I know that I have to get on my reformer to make it feel better. Patients and clients always ask me what the “best” exercise is to do, and I always say, “Whatever you like to do, so that you’ll keep doing it!” I encourage all of you to try out as many movement activities that you can. You may not like all of them, but I’ll bet you can find something you enjoy enough that you don’t have to “exercise” anymore!



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Services provided by The Pilates Workshop constitute professional training, though do not substitute for traditional physical therapy.