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Reaching mindfulness through Pilates : Pilates and Oestoarthritus

‘Pilates is not just exercise it’s a lifestyle that changes the world’

Brent Anderson, founder of Polestar Pilates

If you have arthritis, you may be put off from exercising due to the pain or restriction of movement it causes. However, exercise is an essential part of managing your symptoms, and the top non-drug treatment for osteoarthritis.

Pilates and Oestoarthritus

It is recommended that those with arthritis participate in regular low-intensity exercise to protect their joints from further injury. One particular kind of low-impact exercise that’s seen increased popularity is Pilates.
Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on strengthening the body, particularly the core muscles, to improve overall fitness and boost wellbeing. It was developed because there’s a strong link between mental and physical health, and it has influences from martial arts, yoga, strength conditioning, even acrobatics and dance.
Pilates can be used by anyone, no matter what their age, ability or fitness level. If you’re a beginner or have a medical condition such as arthritis, 1-1 Studio Pilates is extremely beneficial and can be practised using supportive studio equipment that helps you through the movements. There is a lot of Pilates on offer now and it is important to find the right Pilates for you. Matwork Pilates also has a wonderful repertoire of exercises that quickly strengthen and challenge the body.
Although the research into Pilates is in the early stages, it has many potential health benefits. Many Pilates Instructors and Practitioners find regular practice aids with improving balance, joint mobility, posture and muscle tone, as well as relieving stress and reducing the risk of injury.

How Pilates can support healthy joints

There are a number of ways Pilates can help relieve symptoms of arthritis and support healthy joints, with benefits including an improved body awareness, strengthened muscles, reduced pain, and correction of postural imbalances.
Pain is one of the major symptoms in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Often conventional therapeutic exercises are prescribed to help with arthritis. Pilates could be just as effective for relieving symptoms and improving function. One study recently found that Pilates was more effective at relieving pain and disability compared to conventional exercises.If you have already been prescribed therapeutic exercises by your practitioner, it would be worth adding Pilates to your regime for extra support.
Pilates may also play an important role in improving body awareness with arthritis. Body awareness, or proprioception, is often affected in osteoarthritis due to the degeneration of cartilage in the joints. This can affect how well you can sense the position and the movement of a body part. But research has found that regular Pilates sessions can improve the sense of movement in osteoarthritis of the knee.
If you don’t have arthritis and are just looking at ways to try to prevent it, Pilates may also help. Research has shown that regular Pilates sessions for as little as 8 weeks can start to improve muscle strength in the lower body, in addition to postural stability. What’s more, muscle weakness and postural issues can not only exacerbate symptoms of arthritis, but also contribute to the development of the condition.
Pilates can also be used safely after joint replacement, with a study confirming the safety of Pilates as a post-operative rehabilitation option after a total hip or knee arthroplasty. However, it’s important for exercises to be modified according to the joint involved, and for precautions to be taken to avoid injury. We see clients regularly in the Pilates Studio for 1-1 post surgery Pilates.
Although much of the research into Pilates is focused on osteoarthritis, there are benefits for rheumatoid arthritis as well. One study found regular sessions for 8 weeks improved both the quality of life and pain levels in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Preventing cardiovascular issues is another goal, as people with rheumatoid arthritis have increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease. A regular Pilates practice can reduce many risk factors of heart disease, including body fat and blood pressure.

How to get started with Pilates

Adding Pilates into your week can be simple. Clinical Pilates is a great way to begin with support in the Studio and specific home exercises prescribed as well. You can experience real benefits from attending at least one class each week. In-person classes are an ideal way to start your Pilates practice, as we can help you to adapt exercises to your abilities and restrictions. All Clinical Pilates Studios like ours also provide the equipment used to modify movements for beginners.
If have got arthritis, adding low-impact exercise into your weekly routine, like Pilates, can be an important step to reducing your symptoms. Book a 1-1 assessment with us to get you started here:  www.pilatespower.co.uk

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