You’re recovering from an injury and it’s taken much longer than you expected but now it’s time to get going again.  You really want to get active but you don’t want to go through the pain again.  A friend is running a marathon, your neighbour is going to spin class.  Every fitness magazine is preaching a new workout trend.  You’re unsure of where to go next and are worried you might aggravate the injury you’ve been working through. You know you need to keep moving ahead on your health and wellness journey, but where to next?

If this sounds like what you are going through, then I would recommend trying Pilates to help reduce injuries and stay fit.  Pilates is a type of movement system used by elite athletes, that is also amazing to help recovery from injury. You may have seen the recent article on Canuks player, Brandon Sutter,  turning to Pilates to reduce his injuries.

The great thing about Pilates is that it knows no age barrier.  it is helpful for the young as well as the actively aging.  It works because it’s not just another type of workout but rather helps you to restore the fundamental way of “how” your body is supposed to move.

Reduce Injuries and Stay Fit with Pilates

Pilates was developed by German born Joseph Pilates in the early 1900’s.  His focus was rehabilitation. Throughout the years it has evolved.  Input by  Kinesiologists, Physiotherapists and many other movement-based sciences have helped it to further develop as a system that is safe for all bodies and levels of practitioners to help you reduce injuries and stay fit.

Pilates is designed to help you move better, period! It focuses on changing how you move.  learning how to move your body well translates into all areas of your life.  From how to stand with easy upright posture to bettering your golf game.  The effects of Pilates reach far outside the work you do in the studio. Not only will it help the continued healing of your injury, but it will also help to strengthen and balance all the other joints in your body, reducing wear and tear injuries in the future.

The hour you spend in the Pilates studio will spill over into the other 23 hours of your day; the principals you will learn and hone-in-on will stay with you for a lifetime of good movement.

How do you get started?

First you need to find the right Pilates teacher.  A good Pilates teacher has a thorough biomechanical understanding of the body, or in other words “how things move”.  They can teach you how to do it as best as you can for your body’s current state.  This is particularly important if you are recovering from an injury.

Pilates can be done on a mat, on equipment, and with props that modify exercises to your needs. It can be done at home or in a studio.  Sessions are designed to target the whole body with special focus on core strength, breathing mechanics, posture, and balance all with a mindful approach fostering mind body connection.

You may notice many of the exercises are similar to what you have done with your Physiotherapist or Kinesiologist and help you to continue the good work you started with them.  At the Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic our clients often progress from their therapeutic exercises into Pilates or other more independent programs with our kinesiologists so that they can continue to get stronger, better, more resilient.

Private or group sessions?

To get the most out of your Pilates practice you will want to start with a private session.  This can be done as a one-off to introduce you to group classes or as the first step back into any type of exercise. It’s important to start this way if you have pain.  The personal modifications and movement strategies you learn in your session can make you a smarter mover for life.

Group classes can be fun, motivating and empowering.  Keep in mind it’s best to talk to your physiotherapist before jumping into anything new; classes are designed for the average body.  Go early to your class to set up and discuss your injury with your teacher so that they can offer you modifications and assistance as needed.

With Pilates exercising less can often be more!

We’re always telling you to do your exercises daily and we know you find it hard so if you are looking for another way to help get better recent research presented at the Low Back Pa9j  world congress in Antwerp[i] showed that you can benefit with as little as 2-1 hour sessions per week.  People with persistent low back pain (pain lasting longer than 6 months) improved substantially with Pilates exercise done only twice per week. If you find it hard to do your exercises on a regular basis it can help to commit to booked sessions.  You can try a mix of class and individual depending on what you need or enjoy.  Who knew that exercise that helps you recover from injury can even be fun!

Aniela has been teaching movement and Pilates for over 10 years.  She specializes in rehabilitation and mindfulness.  She is at The Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays providing private instruction.  She can also help you to transition into group settings, use of equipment and home programs.  She has experience in scoliosis, post-operative spine surgery and persistent low back pain.  She also has worked extensively with pregnancy and post-partum clients.  She is currently certifying in Pilates Level 3: CCSB Cadillac Chair Springboard and Barrels which requires 275 hours of training. If your goal is to reduce injuries and stay fit, please contact her at 416-925-4687 to make an appointment or at aamio@orthophysio.com if you would like to know more.

Collins, JS, A study to determine the effectiveness of Pilates exercises on pain and function in people with chronic low back pain http://www.worldcongresslbp.com/site/assets/files/1129/lbp_program_book.pdf