ROCKVILLE, MD -- Many people have been using their quarantine time as a chance to rethink their fitness goals in 2020, but according to one pilates studio owner, baby boomers are diving in.
In California, pilates was the most googled fitness term according to the search engine, but in Montgomery County, the owner of Pilates Center of Rockville, Aliyah Hatcher, says that baby boomers are changing the face of the practice.
"When I tell people that I own a pilates studio and I'm a pilates teacher, I think most of them envision a studio full of women in their 30s or 40s, which certainly I do have those ladies in my class, and many men as well, but the majority of my clients are actually baby boomers," Hatcher tells 104.7 WONK FM's Jen Richer. "They are in their 60s, 70s and even some up into their 80s."
The misconception is two-fold, one being that baby boomers lack the physicality for the class, but also that the class is overly challenging. "We do a broad range of work, some of it is body conditioning, fitness, others pain relief and rehabilitation, but a lot of these clients are doing really strong, powerful work and they're in intermediate and advanced level class," Hatcher said. " I taught an advanced level mat class today, and virtually all those [clients] are baby boomers, and they were just killing it."
Although the clients may reach up into their 80s, the practice of pilates is over 100 years old. "Pilates was actually developed by a man named Joseph Pilates," Hatcher explains.
Launched in New York, it was picked up quickly by the dancing community, but Hatcher says the method has spread worldwide and is practiced in nearly every country. "It was designed to basically help people, who were even at that time, seeing the effects of what he called a 'modern lifestyle' and deteriorating people's health and their posture," Hatcher said.
Today, most studios offer several different options, based on Pilates' original method. "It is intimidating to people, I think part of it certainly is the equipment, when people look in the window, their eyes get really big," Hatcher acknowledges,"but the beautiful thing about the equipment is it's just the opposite. The equipment is spring tension based, and the reason Joe [Pilates] created the equipment the way he did was actually to provide support to the body."
That support, coupled with a good teacher may be what is drawing students of all ages, particularly baby boomers. "It's really, really powerful how much strength you can build in your body with the spring resistance,...plus it's low impact so you're not bouncing around on your joints."
Hatcher also believes that the baby boomer generation has a different approach to aging than their parents.
For more information, visit Pilates Center of Rockville
Listen here for the full interview: