- Sarah Chapman
Discover the benefits of Pilates backed by Science
The Physical Health clinic in Shepperton offers Pilates tuition taught by physiotherapists because we not only love being a physio but we also firmly believe in the principles and benefits of Pilates. Physio + Pilates = Perfect Match! We run a timetable of matwork classes and also offer 1:1 and small group tuition with Rowena Labuschagne. Rowena is a chartered physiotherapist and a fully certfied APPI Pilates instructor.
The benefits of practising Pilates make a long-list, so we've summarised the top 5 that are backed by science for you to read through and digest. It may appear a lower-intensity workout but don't under-estimate the positive effects Pilates can have on your whole body and mind.
Jump straight to BOOK MY FREE Pilates class by clicking here.
First of all the basics, what is Pilates?
The concept of Pilates was founded in 1926 in New York by Joseph Pilates (who was born in Germany). He set-up a studio to teach people a specific type of physical exercise, focusing on strength, alignment and control, that later became the body-conditioning exercise classes that we all know today and call Pilates.
Benefits of Pilates
1. Strengthens your Whole Body.
A typical Pilates class or workout will work all the major muscles groups in your body, including your core (trunk and abdominal muscles), your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings and your upper arms.
A study published in the Age journal in 2015 showed that a group of post-menopausal women who completed a 12-week Pilates course attending 2 classes a week increased strength in their abdominals, arm and leg muscles when tested pre and post-Pilates.
The benefit of strength gains are not limited to post-menopausal women, everyone who attends a Pilates class will improve their muscle strength and many other published research has shown this across all age-groups in both men and women.
2. Improves Balance and Reduces the Risk of Falls.
By definition balance means an even distribution of weight enabling someone to remain upright and steady. As we age our ability to balance decreases. Balance is not only an important factor in preventing falls it's an important factor in all other activties we do as well. Do you like to take your dog for a walk, ski in winter, play football with your children? All these activties require balance as the more balanced our body is the more efficient we can be at executing a movement or skill.
A study published in the Physiotherapy journal in 2021 showed that taking part in Pilates exercise improves balance and had a large effect on reducing risk of falls in older adults.
3. Enhances your mood.
It is a well-known and proven fact that taking part in exercise benefits our mental health. Pilates is no exception. For starters there is the group or class element. Attending a class is good for our social health, we can gain support and motivation from the instructor and those around us in a class, boosting our morale and building confidence.
Focusing on breathing in Pilates has been found to lower stress levels, the movements boost endorphins (the happy hormone) and as you are guided through the breathing techniques the more oxygenated blood that travels into your lungs means your brain gets a boost too, so you feel more alert and ready to concentrate.
4. Can improve your flexibility.
Are your toes gradually creeping away from your finger tips?! Consistent practise of Pilates can lead to improvements in the flexibility of the shoulders, spine, hips and ankles. The Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (2016) found that in an older female population following Pilates based exercises for one hour, twice a week for three months improved their flexibility in all the key areas measured, including the spine, hip and ankle.
Maintaining or improving flexibilty can have a positive effect on our levels of comfort, our ability to manage day-to-day tasks and help with sports performance and technique.
5. Helps with managing low back and other joint pain.
Science tells us that most forms of exercise have a positive effect on low back pain. As physios when there is no specific structural cause or pathology for someone's back pain, we term it non-specfic low back pain. Non-specific low back pain is different to say, nerve root pain or scitica, because in this case we can identify a structure causing the pain.
Many studies have looked at the benefits of Pilates-based exercises for people with back pain and a Cochrane Review in 2015 showed that Pilates is beneficial for people with back pain and helping to reduce pain and function.
If you're recovering from a different type of injury or have had surgery, BINGO, book into our PIlates class and you have a physiotherapist and a Pilates instructor at your fingertips!
Pilates is suitable for everyone. It really is, no matter your age or fitness level.
As physiotherapists, when we teach a Pilates class, we teach it with both our physio and Pilates hats on - so we can ensure the exercises are specific to you and your needs.
Ready to feel the benefits of Pilates?
We are offering two FREE Pilates classes in December aimed at Beginner's or Rusty Returners. Would you like to try one of Pilates classes and see how you feel? Did you try Pilates a couple of years ago and would like to start again? Come and join us. For FREE.
1. Thursday 1st December at 12pm for a 45 minute class taught by Rowena.
2. Thursday 8th December at 12pm for a 45 minute class taught by Rowena.
Ready to book your FREE class? Click the BOOK NOW button below and choose the group sessions tab. Choose the FREE Beginner's and Rusty Returners Class option, then choose the preferred date of your free class. We will then send you a registration form to complete.
All classes take place in the Pilates studio at Physical Health Clinic, Holiday Inn, Felix Lane, Shepperton, TW17 8NP.