Move over, Pilates – the Callanetics craze of ‘pulsing’ is back!

Sandra Hanna and her student Moonie Patel discuss the benefits of CALLANETICS® in the latest issue of Yours Magazine. Read the complete interview below:

Let’s get PHYSICAL

Move over, Pilates – the Callanetics craze of ‘pulsing’ is back!

‘In the studio, there’s no pressure and no competition, it’s just a time to focus on yourself’

Like many women in the 1980s and early ’90s, Moonie Patel, 56, often donned her shiny tights, spandex leotard and leg warmers, put on a VHS workout video and mimicked the moves of Jane Fonda.

While there’s no denying the power of the aerobics trend, Moonie says it was the gentle micro-movements of her Callanetics tape that gave her the best results. Now the exercise sensation that promises to make you “look 10 years younger in 10 hours” is back – online and at gyms around Australia.

“I first came across Callanetics shortly after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in my thirties. At the time, I was looking for a safe form of exercise that would help me build strength while being kind to my joints,” Moonie recalls.

Callanetics Lead Global Trainer Sandra Hanna claims you’ll start to feel its benefits almost immediately.

“You can do it at home or take a class where the teacher demonstrates the moves then works with you individually,” Sandra explains.

What is it?

Callanetics is a series of stretching and contracting exercises that improve muscle tone and strength using small, gentle movements called pulses. It was created by American former ballerina Callan Pinckney, who developed the exercises from classical ballet techniques to help ease a back problem she had since birth.

The all-new moves not only strengthened her back muscles but also toned up her body.

The general theory behind Callanetics is that your superficial muscles are supported by secondary, deeper muscles. So by targeting your deepest muscles, Sandra reveals it’s possible to develop a strong, firm body without adding bulk.

“The emphasis is on stabilising the rest of the body so that you’re in your best possible position while pulsing, preventing you from straining your lower back,” Sandra says. “While you might be doing an abdominal workout, you’re actually training the whole body because of your positioning.”

What are the benefits?

Callanetics wasn’t created with the aim of weightloss however, as Sandra explains, it can be a pleasant side-effect.

“It won’t increase your heart rate like traditional cardio, but it can improve your metabolism and increase muscle mass, which may help you lose a few kilos,” she says.

Other benefits include firming and toning of your arms, rounding and lifting of your buttocks and improving your overall posture and flexibility.

Since there are no jolting or bouncing movements, the exercises don’t put any pressure on joints, so there’s no age barrier to having a go.

“I feel so much stronger and my posture is better,” Moonie reports.

Whether you’re a total exercise novice, occasional gym-goer or hardcore fitness buff, Sandra says Callanetics allows you to exercise at your own pace and the movements only intensify when you’re ready.

“Joining a gym can be intimidating but when you walk into your first Callanetics class, you won’t feel that way because everyone is working at different levels depending on their level of fitness,” Sandra says. “We modify every step to suit your needs, so while you’ll be working out with other people, you just have to focus on doing your moves to the best of your ability.”

Who should try it?

Whatever your age or physical condition, Sandra believes it’s never too late to achieve a fantastic figure with Callanetics. “The exercises can help you feel more youthful with increased vitality,” she says.

Improved self-esteem is just another bonus, with Sandra adding that many women say Callanetics makes them feel happier as they’re doing something for themselves. She says, “It’s just that feeling of being in control of your body, which is very empowering.”

Getting started

As with any exercise program, first talk to your doctor to see if Callanetics is right for you.

Next, buy a DVD or download a few videos. Alternatively, search online for a Callanetics class near you. “It depends on where you are, but there are more and more teachers providing group classes all the time,” Sandra says.

“In the studio, there’s no pressure and no competition, it’s just a time to focus on yourself and everyone works at their own pace,” she explains. “Everything is gentle, slow and non-intimidating. And at the end of the hour, you walk out feeling as though you’ve given it your all.”

Moonie says the results have far exceeded her expectations.

“While my rheumatoid arthritis isn’t going to go away, I certainly feel stronger in my legs, which supports my joints better. And in terms of achieving my overall goal to live as healthy a life as possible, Callanetics has definitely helped me do this,” she says.