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Member Success Story

How This 80 Year Old Woman Took 500 Pilates Classes

Mary Downs achieved her latest goal on February 9: 

She completed her 500th class on her 80th birthday. 

Mary was active in In high school and college - she was busy being a life guard, swimming instructor, ski patrol member, and horseback rider. After getting married, she had less time for seriously pursuing sports while also earning her Masters in Speech Pathology and her Ph.D. in Human Development.  When her two daughters were born, when she was 42 and 45, and had even less time for anything more than an occasional walk. 

It was only after she retired that she decided to take the plunge back into fitness and physical activity, and after hearing so many great things about it, Pilates was her choice.

After just 3 weeks from her first Club Pilates class, the benefits were evident.

Mary realized that she could turn over in bed at night without having to sit up and reposition herself.  A lover of hosting gatherings, she was also able to host parties without the aid of a caterer again, as her newly built core strength allowed her to carry dishes up and down stairs to the party room and patio. 

It didn't take long before Mary became hooked on Pilates.

In fact, she loved it so much, she decided to further her practice and expertise by enrolling in Club Pilates Alexandria's teacher training program! 

Inconveniently, Mary suffered an unfortunate injury to her humerus that had to keep her away from the studio for nearly 11 months. When she was cleared to returned to classes , she was dedicated.

She set her goal of completing 500 classes by her 80th birthday - and achieved it.


Mary is now actively working on her teacher training certification, and has hopes of completing teacher training this Spring.

Some of Mary's main passions as a future Pilates teacher?

Mary enjoys educating her future students about the research that is coming out showing that muscle strength may have a positive effect on brain health and function for longevity. She feels that perhaps she can't guarantee that she will not get dementia or Alzheimer’s, but she sure hopes the benefits of Pilates will help decrease her risks. 


When teaching and talking with students of all ages, Mary's message is that there are no “F”s in the class.  If the teacher says 10 repetitions and you can only do 3, promise yourself you will try for 4 next time

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