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Pilates and its Benefits

Posted on June 15th, 2017
At our Manchester City Clinic, we are now providing 1-to-1 Clinical Pilates sessions, led by our Senior Physios, Abigail and Tessa.
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Tessa Davie-Martin and Abigail Browne

Here Abigail explains the many benefits to Pilates and what to expect when you arrive for a session at our clinic.

Pilates is a holistic form of exercise that teaches you to be more aware of your body’s posture, balance, strength and movement. At Harris & Ross, we use Pilates as a form of rehabilitation, correcting faulty movement and muscle patterns, which if left untreated can promote a vicious cycle of pain.

Whether it is to recover from an injury, prepare for a sporting event or just to stay in shape, Clinical Pilates can help with:

                      • Increased flexibility
                      • Injury prevention
                      • Relief from chronic spinal pain
                      • Better balance and coordination
                      • Effective rehabilitation following acute episodes of spinal pain
                      • Heightened mind body awareness

                      I first started Pilates when I was a professional Irish dancer.  Every week we had an hour Pilates class and an hour stretching class.  Once we started Pilates, the injury rates in the company significantly reduced and I could personally feel the benefits with my dancing.  In 2005 as a qualified Physiotherapist, I decided to integrate it in to my treatments and started my qualifications. Since then I have used Clinical Pilates with my patients.

                      I love how adaptable Pilates is. It can help with chronic pain who are unable to move well, pregnant ladies, post-operative patients, right through to Olympic athletes!

                        Why is it so beneficial for expectant mothers?

                      During pregnancy, many changes take place in the body as the baby develops.  Some of the more troublesome changes can be biomechanical, leading to hip and pelvic pain, upper and lower back pain and general deconditioning of the lower limb muscles.  Antenatal classes concentrate on strengthening the muscles used to support your growing baby. The classes will help to relax the tension that builds in your back, pelvis, shoulders and feet, where the weight of your baby causes the most strain. The strengthening of abdominal and pelvic floor muscles will help during labour and aid a speedier recovery afterward.

                      There is a big drive for active labour now, therefore you must have good lower limb strength and endurance to remain active throughout the delivery. As such, exercises to address this are always incorporated into each class.

                      The exercises in the class can be adapted according to your strength to become more challenging. As a result, most of the ladies that come to my Pilates classes are surprised by how much of a workout it is!

                        What are the positives to continuing the exercise post pregnancy?

                      Postnatal Pilates is a great way to safely return to activity following the birth of your baby. It is very important that you gradually build your strength, while your body is recovering and Pilates is a great way to achieve this.

                        The positives to postnatal include:
                                        • Improving pelvic floor control and endurance
                                        • Safely and gradually increase the strength and function of the larger abdominal muscles
                                        • Improve general leg strength
                                        • Start to improve toning of the body, including the upper limbs

                                        If you have had a normal delivery you can start as soon as you like. However, you would need to wait between 6-8 weeks following a caesarean section and it is always advisable to discuss this with your midwife or GP first.

                                          Would I still get the same benefits if I started the class for the first time after pregnancy?

                                        You will still experience the same benefits from the class if you begin once your baby has arrived, we will just be starting from the basics. During your pregnancy your abdominal muscles are stretched and it is important that we check how they are doing before we start to work on them in class, this is the same if you have done Pilates while pregnant. We can then start to gradually strengthen your abdominals, get your body moving in a safe way and advise you on what type of physical activity will be safe as the weeks and months pass.

                                          What should people expect when they come to see you for Pilates?

                                        Firstly before you start a class, we will go through an Initial Consultation to gain an insight into your goals. You will be shown all the basic techniques required for the class and provided with exercises to practice, that would help target any areas you are struggling with.

                                        Usually after the Initial Consultation, the patient will have more confidence in starting the class, as they have become familiar with the principles of Pilates.  As a result when you begin, you will understand each exercise and focus on enjoying it!

                                        Once you have finished your first session, you will be surprised by how much more aware you are of your body. More than anything you will be surprised how relaxed and refreshed you feel!

                                        To arrange an Initial Consultation or for further information, call 0161 832 9000

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