Yoisoon Lee can execute a flawless STOTT PILATES® Short Spine, Mermaid and Long Stretch on the Reformer— made all the more impressive by the fact that she only started practicing Pilates three years ago at the age of 77.
Now 80, she’s becoming a trendsetter in her own right, posting inspiring pictures and comments about aging actively on her Instagram account, Silver Pilates.
An asthmatic all her life, Yoisoon was a late adopter of Pilates and fitness in general. It was not until her husband had a stroke and stayed at a rehabilitation hospital for six years that she started to think purposefully about getting more physical activity.
“I saw that a lot of patients at the hospital got better after doing rehab exercises,” she says. Seeing that piqued her interest in mindful movement.
Sadly, Yoisoon’s husband never fully recovered from his stroke, and after he died, she also began to decline. “I was ashamed when I became a widow, even though I was very old. I didn’t want to go outside for a long time,” she says.
Her daughter, Julianne Ji-Young Kim, who is the CEO of Think Pilates, a Merrithew® Host Training Center in Korea, encouraged her to try STOTT PILATES.
She started taking private sessions twice a week with STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor and physical therapist, Heeju Choi.
Her first six months were tough: “I felt my whole body ache,” she says.
But eventually, by practicing diligently every day at home, she started getting stronger and more mobile.
“Now I feel like every cell in my body is laughing every moment,” she says.
Her mental wellbeing also improved.
“Now I feel full of pride. I feel God’s love and pride in me; it is the biggest change. Many of my friends say, ‘You are getting younger day-by-day.’ I say it’s because there are so many young instructors and clients at the studio, so I feel young when I talk to them.”
Yoisoon started posting Pilates exercise videos on Instagram to motivate herself and others, sharing the positive and inclusive community atmosphere she experiences at Think Pilates with a much larger worldwide audience.
“I am happy when other people ‘like’ my videos or leave a comment. It really cheers me up,” she says.
Her videos demonstrate that it’s possible to excel at and enjoy Pilates at any age. Since Pilates exercises focus on building mobility, stability, strength and balance, several studies have found that it is an effective form of exercise for older adults.
“Pilates is in fashion in Korea these days and I’m not the only one my age doing it. Some of my friends also practice Pilates. We need well-trained instructors who teach the exercises safely, that is the most important point. There are a lot of reliable rehabilitation instructors who have been trained by Merrithew in the STOTT PILATES method,” she says.
Interested in trying STOTT PILATES? Find an instructor near you!