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The two amazing Jeans, both Pilates pros!

The two amazing Jeans are both Pilates pros and have a combined age of 173 years between them. They have not met as they are in separate Pilates classes but they are aware of each other. They were born in different areas of the country but both travelled significantly in their lives and are settled in the Hampshire area. Both of them share a very similar history on how they have approached keeping their bodies fit.They have kept supple and mobile throughout their lives which has helped their recovery from injuries and operations. This really shines through in the professional and fun manner in both Jeans approach to Pilates lessons. I am very proud of them both and it is a pleasure and inspiration to have them in my classes.

Jean McCormick

I’ve known Jean McCormick for 13years. Jean who is now 89 years old was 76 when she started taking my Pilates classes.This was after approximately 12 months with another teacher at a beginner level.

I was immediately impressed with her not only because she was able to perform the majority of the Pilates exercises but her application and understanding of the technique was excellent. As the years have passed she has become such an inspiration to the other class members maintaining a toned lithe physique. She stands tall both in posture and height.

Since taking Jean for a combination of classes and machine lessons we have been on a journey of discovery as to where the techniques can take her. Jean can perform most of the exercises at an intermediate level and some beyond that. Her favourites are the' Mountain climb' on the chair, nicknamed the flying white lady and her key move is the' teaser' on the Cadillac. Although Jean performs this with strength and ease, I certainly have to remind her of the shoulder release at the top of the move and make sure her hip flexors are not over-gripping! I don’t think she will mind me leaving out the reformer bridging (I do include it of course) as her hamstrings tend to dislike the position!

We have fun but as with everyone some days are amazing and the lesson flows with ease from start to finish. The days where Jean isn’t able to get her body to do the exercises I have planned and she is struggling then I will then return her to the breath-work basic exercises for a few minutes.This always gives her body time to relax, calm down and get in back in touch with the parasympathetic nervous system.

This is Jean talking about her background in her own words.......

We lived in Bushill Park, London. Our family loved sports and like most families in the 1920’s &30’s we had no car and walked everywhere. I played in all teams at school and a keen swimmer which had to stop with the war as pools closed and only a few field sports continued although we were dodging doodlebugs! I also loved the Jitterbug dance at Covent Garden. In 1946 after the war my then to be husband and I toured Denmark Austria and Sweden youth hostelling on our bikes. I was not a natural sprinter but I also raced in a local cycle club.

I joined the gym at Applemore leisure centre when it first opened taking part in aerobics, spinning and Pilates. I have stayed with Pilates as it keeps me supple and moving well. I assumed indestructibility but suffered a really bad dose of sciatica but I truly believe the careful tuition of Kathy helped restore me. I think we all have a responsibility for our own well being so I aim to live a healthy life.


Jean Parker

Jean Parker approached me in 2002 about joining one of my Pilates beginner groups.  Jean explained about her love of yoga which she had already been practising for 30 plus years. Jean attended weekly classes with me for about 3 years and then explained that she needed a hip replacement.  This obviously would require a rehabilitation and recovery period so Jean was absent from the class for a significant period of time and kept me updated of her progress. When Jean returned we started rebuilding her strength and it was amazing to see how much residual strength Jean had maintained. This was due to her many years of activities such as swimming, cycling, running, dancing and yoga!

Jean continued to attend her yoga and Pilates class weekly up until just over a year ago when she explained her other hip also needed replacing. Whilst going through the health checks to prepare for the operation Jean was given a pacemaker. This led to a delay of the hip operation by a few weeks, taking her amount of time away from Pilates to a few months. However Jean and her indomitable spirit reappeared, in my opinion looking better than ever although there were some restrictions of movement and stiffness in certain positions. Pilates exercises undoubtedly helped to rehabilitate her hip but Jean also supplemented her recovery with a weekly gym session.

It is rare for Jean to shy away from any exercises that I teach and she is able to perform most of these within her own limitations. The things that I really like about Jean being in the class are her constant enthusiasm and willingness to learn more with a great sense of humour particularly when she can’t hear me because ‘Horace’ her hearing aid is playing up!

Jean who was born in Stockport and is now 84 years old has always kept her body fit and healthy, from a young girl through to adulthood with the yoga and Pilates becoming more important from the age of 70 years onwards.

Jeans favourite saying is, ‘Look after your body and it will look after you’

Her final words of advice are, ' I would say to anyone feeling doubtful about joining a Pilates group, don’t worry no-one expects perfection. Just do your best and be prepared to improvise if need be, your body will probably surprise you by what it can achieve!'


The two Jeans truly are Amazing !!

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