Archive for February, 2011

What happens if life suddenly swerves so dramatically that you find yourself having to start over in your fifties? Well, it happened to me!  I didn’t change—my life changed me.

The year is 2005 and I lost everything that gave me comfort and my sense of security. The man I had been living with for eight years had succumbed to lung cancer after a two-year battle. My twenty year business as a Textile Rep in the New York Garment Center met its death to imports.

 A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So there I was in my fifties with no life partner and no business. Now what?  Starting over at 50+ was not how I wrote my original life script. However, in order to carry on it became quite apparent that my script needed to be edited to meet my new life circumstances. The edits I made ultimately changed my life.

We are either the masters or the victims of our attitudes. It is a matter of personal choice. Who we are today is the result of choices we made yesterday. Tomorrow, we will become what we choose today. To change means to choose to change. ~ John Maxwell

I realized that I had a survival instinct and that things came from deep down inside me when I needed them most. I’m not a quitter. The word quit is just not in my vocabulary. Now what will I be when I grow up was one of my greater challenges. Didn’t I already do that? Yes, but as I told you, my script needed to be edited to fit my new life circumstances.    

The age of my body has no bearing on what I do or who I am. 

 So, my new script went as follows. I started formulating a business plan to teach Pilates to people of my age, 50 +.  Now you may ask why Pilates and why Pilates at my age. So glad you asked because it will be my pleasure to tell you!  I was driven by the ‘if I can do it, you can do it’ philosophy, because after all, I’m an ordinary everyday woman who just happens to be 50+ and wants to look and feel her best. I know, I know you’re still wondering why Pilates? Through the years I did every type of exercise imaginable but there was NOTHING like Pilates. It changed me and my body like no other exercise practice ever did.

What does Pilates do for you? For many, particularly those of us who are 50+, we are becoming more aware of our increasingly aging bodies, stooping shoulders, and greater propensity for injury. Pilates will help serve us as an insurance policy of sorts.

Pilates helps us become more conscious of our posture, how we move, sit, and stand. You can learn a lot of things through the practice of Pilates that can affect the rest of your life.  Pilates works the whole body in synergy, which is how we should be moving on a daily basis. More & more people today want to tune in. They’re looking for a mental connection. Pilates is something you can’t do while you’re thinking about something else. http://www.pilatesbodynyc.com/pilates-body-mind/

Pilates is more than an exercise practice. Pilates becomes a way of life. I find it really rewarding helping other women just like me and love the moment when they say Pilates has made a difference in their lives. I also love seeing a client improve; it’s exciting for them and me!

I never thought I’d be doing a job like this nor having to start over in my fifties. Things didn’t turn out the way I imagined and it’s not always been easy, but giving up just isn’t in my vocabulary.  My life is still filled with lots of stress and unresolved issues but I take a deep breath and keep going. I always encourage other fifty-something women to somehow, someway follow their dreams, to make their own choices and not to be influenced by other people’s opinions. Never forget, it’s your life, your choice.

You have got to discover you, what you do, and trust it. ~ Barbra Streisand 

Bio Susan Sommers is a certified Pilates instructor specializing in teaching those 50 and older. Certified by Pilates Academy International in all populations Mat, Susan continually takes workshops to keep both her knowledge and ability to teach current.  Her company, Pilates Body NYC, brings Pilates right to the clients home or their building’s gym.  All they need do is provide their body. Susan supplies the rest, Inspiration and motivation included!  Susan’s philosophy: “Age is nothing—attitude is everything.” *You can find and connect with Susan on Twitter, Facebook and her blog.*


Read Full Post »

Don’t get lost in the Valentine’s Day frenzy, neglecting the most important person in your life. You. It’s easy to become swept up in everyday living, taking care of others, leaving little if no time to take care of yourself. You’ve heard it said time and time again, you can’t be a good parent, spouse, employee if you don’t find those timeless moments to appreciate yourself first.  So take a few minutes today and show yourself a little love.

  • Take a walk. Breathe in the fresh air and reflect upon all you’ve accomplished in your life. How often do you find yourself congratulating others on their accomplishments? Now think about how often you pat yourself on the back.
  • Spend one hour reading a new book or an old favorite. You can pull down that old paperback from the bookshelf—you know the one, with the dog-eared pages and the worn out cover. Or you can check out a new read on your Kindle or i-Pad. What matters is taking that time to escape everything around you, immersing yourself into another world.
  • Send out e-Valentine’s. Yeah, just like when we were kids. It makes you feel good to do something special for someone else. You can use a site like Hallmark.com or create your own Valentine’s cards, expressing your love and adoration for friends and family. In doing so, you tap into your deepest emotions which can prove therapeutic.
  •  Enjoy a spa hour or day. Give yourself a manicure, pedicure or facial. There are a million great products out there. A new favorite is from MyFaceWorks. You may want to give it a try. Or if you prefer the super pampered route, schedule an hour today at a local spa. Go ahead, you are worth it.
  • Watch a movie that makes you smile. Whether you pop into your local theater to watch one of the most recent films or you stay home and drop in that reliable, old DVD that always makes you laugh, it’s a reminder that laughter is the best medicine.
  • Work out. It’s good for your heart, and isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about? You can’t show the love any more than taking time for a daily workout. It doesn’t matter if you kick it with a DVD, take a class, run in the park, or sweat it out in the gym.
  • Buy yourself a gift. Why not? You don’t have to sit back and wait for someone else to treat you right. Been waiting for those shoes to go on sale? Thought about updating that ancient iPod? Craving a little bling? Today’s the day to make that special splurge.  

(Photo courtesy of SXC.)

Read Full Post »

There’s a big push right now encouraging kids and teens to become involved in a healthy lifestyle, eating right and daily physical activity. The American Heart Association reveals that nearly 10 million children and adolescents, ranging from ages 6-19, in the US are considered overweight. Even our own first lady, Michelle Obama, initiated the Let’s Move! Campaign in an effort to fight childhood obesity, promoting community involvement from parents and schools.

For some young people it’s easy to stay fit, making physical fitness a normal daily routine. Most of them are involved in team sports. But what if you have a child who hasn’t found a favorite sport? How can those kids and teens find a healthy balance? Consider a personal trainer. Yep, personal training is not just for the grownups anymore.

My fourteen-year-old daughter, Jordan, started gymnastics shortly before she turned two, and she enjoyed it for 4 years. Then she felt burnt out, dreading the weekly practices and events. It wasn’t fun for her anymore. Reluctantly I allowed her to leave the gymnastics world so that she could try something new. And she did. Soccer, karate, ballet, tap, ice skating, surfing, running (two 5k events), and volleyball. She even played around with gymnastics again for a short period of time. But none of these sparked her passion.

Because I’m on Twitter much of my day, I notice all the great motivational posts, including tools and resources, by the trainers and physical fitness gurus. Some days, just reading a few 140 character posts, gets me revved up. So I searched and found a personal trainer in my area, only a few minutes away from our neighborhood, who works with teens as well as adults. We did a phone interview, and I liked what he had to say. Then he offered a free workout, giving Jordan an opportunity to see if they clicked. They did. “A huge benefit of having a personal trainer is the way in which they help you find your strengths, and then you can find a sport that revolves around those strengths,” Jordan says.

While working out in the gym, learning how to use the machinery, and understanding the correct way to push herself physically, Jordan’s confidence magnified. She found a community there in the gym. She was serious about her workouts and learning about a healthy lifestyle. The other trainers appreciated that and helped train her as well. She also discovered and loves yoga and Pilates. When my family joined a gym this February, Jordan jumped right into the gym groove, never missing a beat. She knew how to use all of the equipment properly and exactly how far to push her body for maximum benefits but not overworking muscles.

Jordan plans on trying out for the Volleyball team next year and continuing her gym time. I feel confident that she now knows how to incorporate health and wellness into her everyday life, making it a comfortable routine and top priority. “During this time in a teen’s life we are impressionable,” Jordan says. “If we start unhealthy lifestyle choices now it could impact the rest of our lives.”

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: