Compared to Lynne Robinson, I’m a bit of a Johnny-come-lately when it comes to Pilates. It’s been about five years since I did my back in, lifting without bending my knees, and discovered that Pilates is the new clubbing. Together with blogging, it’s one of the best ways to meet like-minded people of a certain vintage. I am determined to strengthen my core muscles, improve my posture and avoid ‘croning’ (technical term for the hunched over posture associated with osteoporosis). Lynne has been practising for 25 years. The former history teacher discovered the art of Pilates when living in Australia and suffering from a herniated disc. Walking into what she thought was a yoga class at a studio in the North Shore, to discover that it was, in fact, Pilates. Lynne was hooked. On returning to England, she co-founded Body Control Pilates and over the last quarter of a century has built up a family business. Today the 62-year-old spends most of her time training pilates instructors (Lynne has trained approx 1500 people), and writing books. My favourite is Pilates For Life: How to improve strength flexibility and health over 40; written in collaboration with fellow Pilates instructor Carmela Trapp and physiotherapist Jenny Hawke. I was lucky enough to work with Lynne on a project last year and she invited me over to her Body Control Pilates studio in Bloomsbury for a chat:
TNMA: Why is Pilates so important as you get older?
LR: In terms of posture, health and wellbeing there’s nothing like it. I see it as an insurance. When you get older, you can’t get away with slouching – I’m 62 now and I intend to be doing Pilates when I’m 90.
TNMA: It’s taken me years and I still feel like I have a lot to learn – is it something you need to really work at?
LR: I have lessons twice a week, but little and often is enough of an investment. It’s important to build Pilates into everyday life. Every time I pick up my granddaughter Amy I think, ‘ Thank god I’ve got the strength and flexibility to do this.’
TNMA: Someone teaches you Pilates?!
LR: I know! It has to be someone brave who will tell me if I’m doing something wrong but I see it as investing in my future health and how I look. I couldn’t live without it.
TNMA: Is there anything else you do to invest in your appearance?
LR: I like to do things as naturally as possible, I’d never have surgery, I’d rather use exercise. I do look after my hair – Graham at Martyn Maxey has done it for years – I love a good blow dry.
TNMA: You travel a lot with work and are always on the go – how would you describe your wardrobe?
LR: Because of my job, I’m always quite relaxed. I might go from a training class, to picking up my granddaughter, to catching a train to London. Being too try-hard doesn’t look right, I always feel a bit awkward when I’m dressed up – and I think it can age you if you’re not careful. I love bright colours, particularly orange, I’ve built a whole wardrobe around this pair of orange Prada pumps.
TNMA: Can you recommend any good Pilates labels?
LR: I like Asquith Clothing which is simple and colourful and doesn’t have loads of patterns and logos. It’s eco-friendly and made from bamboo. And Pilates Nerd is fun. For everyday, I wear a lot of T by Alexander Wang, Acne Studios and I live in Paige and J Brand jeans. I like to have a bit of an edge.
TNMA: And finally, do you have any advice for my readers?
LR: Do first what you should – and then what you would! This applies to diet, exercise, clothing, work, beauty and hair care. We all know what we ought to be doing/eating/applying, get the fundamentals right and then you can indulge yourself, guilt-free.