'I started Pilates in my 50s. Here are 9 surprising lessons I learned.'

I started my journey into the world of Pilates as a voyeur on Instagram. I would drool (more than likely with wine in hand) over those sleek, agile bodies gliding up and down the reformer. 

I couldn't even come close to touching my toes!

Picture me, sneaking into some mat classes, at the back of the room, surrounded by stunning 30-year-olds, ripped and bendy in their fancy Nagnata outfits. Me, hoping not to be seen.

I was inconsistent and full of intimidation and "Am I too old for this?" vibes.

So when I stumbled upon a reformer pilates studio near my workplace and the overriding determination to feel stronger, I finally gave up the lame excuses. I packed my bags, signed up for a membership, and made a fierce commitment to myself.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Do it scared.

Trust me, I was trembling and terrified, but I did it anyway. 

During those initial classes, I clung onto the foot bar for dear life as my legs quivered with fear and imbalance. 

Pro tip: Arrive early to your first class and let the teacher know you're new. They'll guide you through the magical world of the reformer bed (yes, it's called a bed – how delightful is that?).

2. No one is watching you. 

Seriously! Everyone is too busy focusing on their own form, balance and rhythm.

So let go of any self-consciousness and embrace your unique journey.

3. Find a teacher (or two) who lifts your spirits. 

I'll forever be grateful for Lenni, whose gentle German voice guided me with phrases like, "You do you," "Find what's right for you today," and "Find your range."

She's a nurturing and inspiring soul, making every move feel within reach with her helpful options.

4. It's your time to shine. 

Those 45 minutes to an hour of class are pure liberation. No distractions, no phones – just you and your intense concentration and focus, and (usually) an incredible playlist in the background.  


And let me tell you, the sense of achievement afterwards is absolutely priceless.

5. It happens faster than you think. 

In just four weeks, I felt an incredible surge of strength, and my balance improved tenfold. 

I bid farewell to the foot bar safety net and started scootering, planking and piking with a newfound abandon (well, not exactly like a circus performer, but compared to where I started, it might as well hve been).

Image: Supplied.

6. I can conquer the world (or so it feels). 

That newfound strength and achievement in Pilates carries over to the rest of my day – and life.


Suddenly, everything seemed possible – every dream, every goal. Because I am strong and I can do ‘hard’ things.

7. Age is just a number. 

Take it from me: I feel stronger and more balanced than ever before.

And guess what? I can even see some definition in my legs! Let's redefine what it means to be fabulous in our 50s!

8. Wear what makes you comfortable. 

Forget those fancy Nagnata outfits (although their bike pants would be pretty cool, I admit). Comfort trumps style for me. I rock my leggings-and-tee combo with pride.

And with my newfound guns, I’ve even pulled out the singlets again.

Besides, as I mentioned before – no one is actually watching your outfit choices. So wear what feels right for you.

9. Warning: highly addictive!

Brace yourselves, because Pilates may just become your ultimate obsession. What started as 2-3 times a week quickly escalated to a daily love affair for me.

I simply can't resist the feeling of strength, balance and accomplishment that fills me after every class. Some days I master all the movements. Other days, not so much.

But it's about the journey of self-improvement every day and granting yourself the gift of time.

So, while I still can't touch my toes (yet), I can plank like a champ. Sure, I still indulge in loads of Pilates videos and reels on my Instagram feed, but now I can truly relate. 

Because, guess what? I'm a Pilates queen, too.

Peta McCallum is a mother of three boys, marketer, coach and above all, a woman on a mission to inspire other women in their 50s to rediscover their purpose and live the life of their dreams.

Feature image: Supplied, Canva.

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