The Covid Pandemic turned life upside down. Being unable to treat patients, I suddenly had more time on my hands than I have had in years. In addition to the obligatory DIY and baking copious cakes, I thought I should try to keep fit, so I decided to try my colleague Georgie’s online Pilates classes. Well, I loved them with Georgie’s clear, encouraging teaching style. With the focus, the concentration, and the ability to progress the exercises and work at a level which suited me, I felt I was getting a safe full body workout which was still really challenging.
With months of uncertainty ahead and my two daughters heading off to University, I needed a distraction. Having taught exercise classes myself back in the day, I thought maybe this is something I can do that will also really benefit my patients. After some research, I decided to train in the APPI Method, (The Australian Physiotherapy & Pilates Institute). Our physios, Jodie and Rachel, had trained in this form of Pilates and highly recommended APPI as the Pilates gold standard.
APPI lead the way in clinical-based Pilates training. Taking the 34 classic Pilates movements developed by Joseph Pilates, they have progressed and adapted these so they are safe and effective for all. The exercises build strength, stability and mobility. Over the last year, the in-depth Comprehensive Matwork training course has covered every element from anatomy and physiology to teaching one-to-one and group classes. I was lucky enough that between lockdowns, I was able to do both training in person and subsequently on Zoom and in March 2021 I took my practical and theory exams and passed!
Not only is Pilates something I can now use to help others, but it has also really helped me and proved just how transformational it can be. I have always done a variety of exercises from running to aerobics, body pump to badminton, but in 2017 I was shocked when I had a prolapsed disc in my neck.
An MRI showed that the jelly part of the disc had escaped, protruding into a root nerve causing me a lot of pain and weakness in my left arm. Initially I was told I would need surgery. However, being so fortunate to work where I do, with physio treatment, rest and rehab the disc was reabsorbed and over six months things improved. The result of this was that whilst I could return to exercise (avoiding any high impact), I was left with a left arm which was still weaker and with muscles which would often go into painful spasms if I overdid strength work.
Through practising Pilates, my arm is much stronger and I no longer have muscle spasms. Using a range of exercises I have also built up the deep muscles to support my spine and core. I now experience less low back pain which can be an issue for massage therapists who are often flexing forward. I am so much stronger and recently completed a 45-minute hit class that I would never have been able to do a while ago.
However, the most inspirational part of my Pilates training is that I can see how patients can improve their everyday life. By using Pilates they can make their bodies stronger and more functional, making everyday tasks easier and more enjoyable. Age and ability is no barrier as Pilates truly can benefit everyone. The APPI Pilates method is taught to footballers and ballet dancers, new mums to octogenarians and as a teacher, we can continue adding to our skills with many specialist courses.
In addition to offering one-to-one Pilates sessions, I am also planning to run a Pilates for Osteoporosis group class. With 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men developing osteoporosis, Pilates can be a key component for preventing both the onset of the disease and managing it.
For information on Pilates with the team at The Health Hub please contact reception.