Pilates has become increasingly popular over the years in the healthcare and fitness industry. Pilates was developed in the early 20th century for physical fitness by a guy called Joseph Pilates.
Different approaches have been taken on Pilates between the two industries: one which has more of an emphasis on ‘workout’ encouraging you to sweat more and increase of heart rate, the other
approach is taken more by professionals like myself (Physiotherapist) where we use it as part of our
rehabilitation and maintenance of people that have suffered from injuries or injury prevention.
Unfortunately, in this day and age a lot of jobs are based around sitting at a desk and long
commutes, naturally leading us towards more of a sedentary lifestyle. It is important to continue to
fight against this, because the bad news is that even from the age of 30 our muscle bulk can start to reduce (sarcopenia) and then even more dramatically from 60 and even more so at 80. Making the time to strengthen and maintain muscle mass is imperative to help maintain quality of life.
Sarcopenia has been linked to several chronic conditions that are common among the aged, including osteoporosis, insulin resistance and arthritis. Exercise doesn’t have to be high intensity, as I understand that this isn’t for everyone but can also be moderate, such as walking, swimming, yoga or Pilates.
Pilates has been proven to improve flexibility, strength and develops body control and endurance. It
also offers so much more than this including individuals body awareness; what muscles are switching on when, breathing (speed, depth, rhythm), co-ordination and balance. There are different types of Pilates within this. Most commonly practiced due to ease and availability of equipment is matwork Pilates. There is also equipment Pilates, which can include the reformer, Cadillac or Wunder Chair being the most common pieces. Within matwork Pilates equipment can also be used to mix up the exercises and challenge individuals in different ways. These pieces can include the ova ball, magic circle, Swissball, foam roller, weighted balls and TheraBand.
Over the years I have personally included Pilates and many of it’s exercises in my clinical Physiotherapy practice to return patients to where they want to be and enable them to return to other hobbies, whether this be golf, running, walking, football, weight lifts or many other disciplines.
Others use Pilates as their hobby and enjoy it as part of their weekly routine. A lot of my clients also
then continue as maintenance and prevention of any new or further injury.
Another question a lot of individuals pose to me is; what is the difference between yoga and Pilates?
If I was to be extremely general Pilates focuses more on core and control and yoga focuses more on flexibility. However, there will be many practitioners that argue this statement. Both do include
balance, awareness and control of breathing, awareness and control of the body and the way it is moving. Classes are also very individual to the professional teaching the class and the way that they work. Pilates may or may not be for you but for any of you sedentary office workers it is a great way to start moderate exercise to try and prevent sarcopenia, osteopenia/ osteoporosis and promote health.
The government states that we should be doing 75 mins/wk high intensity physical activity or 150
mins/wk moderate intensity exercise. They then further advise this can be doubled to increase
health further. This will benefit you not just physiologically but psychologically too, which is a whole
other aspect exercise has been proven to help with.
If you have any further questions in relation to Pilates or Clinical Pilates please do not hesitate to
contact me. Weekly Online classes are currently being run.