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Is pilates actually healthy for you?

Debby Purnama

Physiotherapist

Melbourne | Fri, May 18, 2018 | 02:40 pm
Is pilates actually healthy for you?

A gym instructor helps a client at a pilates and yoga studio in Pantai Indah Kapuk, North Jakarta Utara. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

Over the past five years, I have seen a rapid growth in pilates centers in Indonesia. Most of my friends and their families do pilates somewhat.

Take a moment to examine your exercise routine, is it truly effective? In other words, do you see improvements in strength? If you feel stronger, does it make you feel less aches at work or have less headaches?

If done correctly, exercise, be it pilates or functional training, can result in massive benefits for your daily life. Here are five steps to help you determine whether you are doing the right things to care for your body.

Always come back to your 'why'

Figure out your own goal: why are you joining the exercise class? Perhaps to be more physically active, to tone your abs and buttocks muscles.

Also, think about your functional goals, such as suffering less pain in your shoulders and neck after work – hence less headaches. Every individual has different rehabilitation goals. Some of you might want to get back to playing soccer after knee or lower back pain.

You need to train your body the right way to prepare yourself the best for achieving these goals. Physiotherapists can help you develop a plan consisting of relevant exercises tailored to your body.

Refer back to the main reasons why you are doing a particular exercise, and think about whether it aligns with what you want to get out of it.

Listen to your body

I hear this said often. But people still feel pain and continue exercising, until injuries happen. The opposite is common too, with people feeling pain build up after long periods of sitting or holding their phone, not moving.

Pain is a signal that your body is trying to tell you to do something different. I understand the saying "no pain, no gain" and it can be true. But if the pain is becoming worse while you exercise, stop. It might not be good for you.

Seek help quickly

Injuries happen and are common with physical activity. The severity, however, varies.

If you happen to strain a muscle or can tell that something is not right, go get it checked with a health professional.

Physiotherapists are trained to assess your injuries and aim ease your pain and restore your movement as soon as possible. The sooner you manage it, the quicker it will heal. Hopefully you can even prevent it from happening again.

Good things take time

Be patient with the process and enjoy the journey. Regular exercise does require commitment and patience. In fact, it takes 66 days for a behavior to become a habit. Keep at it, and it will become natural to you.

After doing it for around three months, reflect back and see where your routine has taken you. Twelve weeks is usually when I would reassess my clients to see if real improvements have been attained.

Think about what needs to be changed after 12 weeks – maybe challenge yourself and progress the exercises; or if it has not been working, change it up. Be responsible for your own training and take control.

Have some fun

Exercising is more fun if its done with friends, catchy music and suited to your preferred time of day. What we do not want is for you to start exercising twice a week for two weeks, only for your work schedule to change. This will likely to break your routine and reduce your chances to have a regular workout. So, think carefully about which days are best and what would motivate you the most to get your butt off the chair and start moving.

Some people may have conditions that limit them from exercising. Restricted movements or other health issues may be present but that does not mean you cannot exercise. Some just need more guidance about what is safe; some need supervision to ensure they are doing the exercise correctly. Assistance is out there if you are serious about getting healthier. Physiotherapists can help you develop a plan consisting of relevant exercises tailored to your body.

I cannot emphasize enough the physical and mental benefits that you will gain out of being active. Start now and feel good. (kes)

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Through six years of training at The University of Melbourne and qualifications attained through The Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute, Debby Purnama has developed proficient clinical skills to assess an individual's movement and prescribe Pilates exercises. At a practice based in Melbourne, Australia, she has treated clients of all ages and backgrounds – from stay-at-home mothers, to accountants, entrepreneurs, lawyers and various levels of athletes.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.

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