Martha Stewart,Pilates and Me

I just registered for a Pilates class. My husband laughed at me when I told him I’m taking Pilates because Martha Stewart, who is my age, took the class to get fit to wear a bathing suit for the cover of Sports Illustrated. At 81, she is the magazine’s oldest model. Martha has been my role model over the years.

I’ve always thought of her as a gutsy, talented woman. She received criticism when she began to gain attention, and success, as a chef, cookbook author, and eventually, head of a media empire. Back in the 60’s she didn’t know her place in the home—barefoot and pregnant. Obviously, the critics had little effect on her since she became America’s first self-made female billionaire.

It was my sister-in-law who first told me that Martha Stewart was born in Jersey City and lived in a house on the same block as my husband’s family. It’s my good fortune that she moved away to a classy suburb in northern New Jersey before she had raging hormones and met my husband.

What I find delightful about Martha is that she has ventured out where older women aren’t often seen. I well know she is a privileged woman with good bones, lots of money, and connections. However, I still admire her for being honest about her age and doing what an 81-year-old-woman isn’t expected to do. Ignoring the frequent snide remarks about older women’s bodies, she is posing in a swimsuit on the cover of a national magazine. She endorsed Pilates to get in shape. Notice here: no mention of dieting.

I had tried Pilates years ago and didn’t take to it. I don’t remember why. Knowing Martha practices Pilates to get in shape, I’ve investigated the program again. Googling the moves, I found that some of them were the same ones I have been doing after I damaged my knee almost a year ago. And certainly, some of the movements will challenge me. Some I might not be able to do at all. Pilates strengthens the core and improves balance and strength, so I’ll gain some benefit. If it’s good enough for Martha, it’s good enough for me.

I have a lot in common with Martha Stewart. We both are of Polish descent, the same age, born in Jersey City, and soon I, too, will be a Pilates disciple. Maybe, I will also receive an invitation from Sports Illustrated to be featured on its next cover. Who knows?

By Marianna Crane

After a long career in nursing--I was one of the first certified gerontological nurse practitioners--I am now a writer. My writings center around patients I have had over the years that continue to haunt my memory unless I record their stories. In addition, I write about growing older, confronting ageism, creativity and food. My memoir, "Stories from the Tenth Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers" is available where ever books are sold.


  1. I’m a Martha fan too! She gets guff that a man in her position wouldn’t. But I say, go Martha. And good for you, too! And down with ageism! Fun post!


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