A Physio’s Perspective: Benefits of Pilates

15/11/2019
I have worked as a Physiotherapist for over twenty years, first in London and now in Sydney, currently at Excel, which I opened in 2014, where our practice includes a Pilates studio. At the time that I opened the practice at Excel (2014) I had completed training as a reformer instructor and I was personally amazed at the benefits of practicing regular Pilates myself.

I had always been an advocate of physical exercise and returning our clients to as active a lifestyle as possible. However, I have found Pilates to be an invaluable asset to my treatment programs, and as a means of preventing further injury, and improving quality of life for the uninjured. Here’s why!

Regular Pilates, for men and women, creates an unshakeable core of strength through the hips, pelvis and abdominal region. It has a unique way of improving strength as our muscles are lengthening, in all the planes of movement: forwards backwards, side to side and in rotation. We call that eccentric strengthening.

That ‘strengthen as you lengthen’ approach is difficult to achieve in other exercise programs but critical for success in sports or other activities. Our Pilates students not only recover faster form injury and have fewer recurrences of pain, but they report feeling taller, lighter and stronger all at the same time. Not a bad result! There really is a tangible benefit for injury prevention and general well being.

I have been doing reformer based Pilates myself for seven years and one of the reasons that I persevere is that I simply enjoy it. When patients ask me about Pilates my immediate response is ‘I LOVE PILATES’. There are so many combinations of exercises that are possible on the reformer and I am constantly challenging myself to push that extra mile. It is as if my body is rejoicing in that challenge and as it craves to be pushed that bit further.

Whether it is a standing slide, a rotation with springs and straps or a side stretch I feel better balanced in my body, and at 52 physically robust than ever before. In the real world, I am able to move in all directions better, and respondbetter in all sorts of situations. That may be when I’m bushwalking, rock climbing or just negotiating the pavement and metro system. In a nutshell I feel safer in the man made or natural environment. 

With my core engaged and being better able to move in different directions my tennis is better because eI can run backwards and rotate at the same time. My running has improved because I am better at running in a straight line (my glutes and calves are stronger) and I lose less energy correcting wobble in my stride pattern. I have even noticed that I am better able to throw a ball, or a stick for my dog! 

 

Our patients at Excel love the challenge of Pilates and report sustained recovery. We currently have a former professional rugby league player, and a stuntman regular attending our classes. We also have patients recovering from a back injuries, and working on the strength and range to help with knee arthritis and with preventing, or at least delaying surgery. It particularly helps with back pain caused form excessive string in an office environment. We also have Pilates students who come for general fitness who have never had a major injury.

Pilates is a real plus for our practice and helps us to deliver more than just Physio, it helps us to improve our client’s overall health and wellness, which is why we will continue to offer it. Being an avid convert to Pilates, I cannot recommend it highly enough. We have classes Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunchtimes and evenings and we can also do one on one sessions.