What is Pilates?

Pilates is a uniquely precise approach to exercise and body-conditioning, which gives you a leaner, suppler, more toned body and a calmer, more relaxed mind.

Long popular among dancers, gymnasts and others who knew of it, Pilates has now been discovered by the wider public and is very popular among celebrities – from those who want a stronger back or flatter stomach to those with specific injuries or medical problems that Pilates can help; or those who simply want to get fit and de-stress.

Pilates is a gentle, non-aerobic exercise method, which lengthens and strengthens the muscles, and improves posture, without stressing the joints or the heart. Indeed, physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and doctors now recommend Pilates as one of the safest forms of exercise available. I take a lot of Pilates referrals from these medical specialists for a number of sports injuries and medical conditions, whereby Pilates can aid rehabilitation.

You can practice Pilates either in my group classes or privately, known as mat classes. All classes are designed to tone and strengthen your muscles, while placing minimum strain on the joints.

What does Pilates do, compared to other types of exercises?

Whereas most forms of exercise build the body’s stronger muscles, Pilates exercises work more to strengthen the weaker ones. You will discover muscles you didn’t even know you had. The result is a properly balanced body, with better joint mobility, a firm musculature and good, natural posture.

Pilates helps you achieve such posture by strengthening the centre of the body so that it supports your lower back, helping you to stand straight and hold your upper body correctly.

Whereas many kinds of exercise aim only to raise your general fitness, Pilates classes are able to isolate and strengthen specific muscles or tackle a particular problem with precision.

Whereas other forms of exercise often cause injuries, Pilates exercises not only cure injuries but are themselves so controlled and low-impact that they are extremely safe – if taught, that is, by a properly trained instructor. I am a Level III Specialist Pilates Instructor which means I have more qualifications than a standard Pilates Instructor and have over 6 years experience. I am very confident teaching and adapting Pilates for a number of medical conditions, as well as receiving exercise referrals. What’s more, the gained awareness of your body you develop during class enables you to avoid the same injuries or problems reoccurring in the future.

Pilates is a gentle, non-aerobic exercise method, which produces a healthy, toned, mobile body and calm, relaxed mind.

What are the benefits of Pilates?

  • A stronger healthier back
  • A more toned, mobile and flexible body
  • A leaner and longer body
  • A flatter/more toned stomach
  • Improved body shape
  • Better balance between strength and suppleness
  • Improved posture
  • Easier and fuller range of movement
  • Improved co-ordination and body awareness
  • Injury prevention and rehabilitation
  • Stress relief
  • General fitness
  • Sense of calm and well-being

Who can benefit from Pilates?

Pilates is particularly suitable for…

  • middle-aged and elderly
  • desk-bound and inactive
  • pregnant and post-natal
  • athletes and sports club members (e.g. rowers) – injury prevention and body conditioning
  • Those needing pre- and post-operation strengthening/rehabilitation
  • Those referred by their doctor, physio, osteopath, chiropractor or other medical practitioner

And for those who suffer…

  • Back pain and other back problems
  • Scoliosis/curvature of the spine
  • Poor posture and rounded shoulders
  • Neck and shoulder pains or problems
  • Stiffness, joint pains and muscle pains, whether caused by arthritis/osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia or other medical conditions
  • Sports Injuries
  • Stress, Anxiety, Depression
  • ME and MS

What is gluten?

Gluten is what gives dough it’s stickiness and elasticity to prevent crumbling. It is found in many grains such as wheat, spelt, rye, barley, malt and sometimes oats. Oats do not naturally contain gluten but are at risk from cross-contamination.

What is Coeliac Disease?

Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune disease to gluten and if left untreated can cause internal problems with your intestines. You can visit the Official Coeliac UK website for more information.

I think I may have Coeliac Disease, what should I do now?

If you think you have Coeliac Disease the best thing to do, crazy as it sounds, is to carry on eating gluten and book an appointment with your doctor so they can run a blood test and refer you to a gastroenterologist for a biopsy.

What are food intolerances?

Food intolerance also known as non-allergic food hypersensitivity is when food causes a detrimental reaction in your body. For example bloating, nausea, vomiting, mouth ulcers, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and or constipation and skin flare ups.

These food intolerance symptoms usually begin within half hour after eating or drinking and can last up to 48 hours. The degree of sensitivity varies between each individual.

If you believe you may have a food intolerance keep a food diary and book an appointment with your doctor, they can refer you to a specialist who can help you.

Unfortunately, it can take many years to discover food intolerances as the symptoms are often delayed and without controlling your diet it is hard to work out what the cause is.

What is IBS?

IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome it is diagnosed based on your symptoms which are typically chronic stomach cramps and abdominal pain, bloating and unusual bowel habits.

You can have predominately diarrhoea or constipation or a mixture of both classified as IBS-D, IBS-C or IBS-A. There is no cure however you can manage the condition by taking regular medication to control your symptoms and by altering your diet to eliminate the triggers.

Recently, following a FODMAP diet has also been proven to be very successful in managing IBS.

What does FODMAP mean?

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols.

They are short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. It has been proven and is medically accepted among professionals that there is a beneficial effect of excluding foods high in FODMAP’s in people that suffer from IBS and other functional gastrointestinal disorders.

The low FODMAP diet was developed by Monash University and for more information, you can visit their official website. Below is a list of high FODMAP foods you should try eliminating and see if your symptoms improve, the FODMAP diet is only for 4-6 weeks and then you will permanently eliminate your individual biggest triggers and reintroduce everything else.

It is best to follow the FODMAP diet under the supervision of a professional, I followed mine with the help of an NHS dietician.