How can I get started in Pilates?
As a complete beginner you will need to book either a beginners workshop or a private session before enrolling in a class. This session is designed to help guide you smoothly into an existing group matwork class, where for the first course, you would stick with a Level 1. The Beginners Workshop is essential as it gives you a knowledge of how your body works, explains which muscles are used to stabilise your shoulder and pelvic girdle, you will learn the Principles of Pilates and will gain an understanding of how to find your neutral zone in all of the required positions that we use in Pilates. You will practice relaxation at the end of the session and taught how to release unwanted tension. At the end of the session you will be given a printout covering the principles, the benefits, the stabilisers and also some of the movements for you to take home and practice. When you meet Sue, you will be given a Medical Questionnaire to fill in and it is best to be as honest as possible on the form. This way Sue can offer alternatives to any exercises that she feel would be unsuitable for you, or indeed, that may benefit your need. All Sue’s Pilates classes are taught multi-level which ensure that there is something for everyone. Pilates is so adaptable, there are a wide range of alternative exercises for those who have joint problems or who are suffering with an injury and cannot cope with certain movements or positions.
Why should I practice Pilates?
Pilates is the perfect complement to all other forms of exercise. It gives you a greater body awareness of how you feel, and how you move and works by lengthening, strengthening and toning muscles and works the body from the inside out strengthening deep postural muscles. Many people find it relaxing as the class has a nice ambient feel to it. It realigns any muscle imbalances and you reduce injuries caused by misuse or bad posture.
What age group is Pilates for?
Pilates is beneficial for virtually any age group or fitness level. Every exercise can be adapted, modified and customised for individual needs. All of the exercises you will be taught are progress ional so you can choose the level that you feel comfortable to work at.
What shall I wear?
When attending a class Sue recommends that you wear comfortable clothing but not too baggy or loose, as correct postural alignment is a key factor of Pilates. So no jeans, or trousers with tight belts and please empty your pockets of handkerchiefs, keys etc
Do I need to bring a mat to class?
No, all mats, head pads and any other equipment you might need are provided for you when participating in one of Sue’s classes. The use of small equipment in the Pilates Mat Based classes such as resistant bands, foam squares, soft balls, small hand weights either aid or challenge you further when exercising.
How often should I practice Pilates?
Pilates is a discipline that needs to be practiced regularly, however, we all lead busy lives and sometime just getting to your weekly session can be a challenge! Pilates is not just an exercise programme it is a way of life. You will gain awareness of your body, how you move, sit, stand, walk and will practice Alignment, Breathing and Centering whether you are shopping, cooking, lifting a heavy box or simply having coffee with a friend. It is best to come to class once or twice a week and practice 2 or 3 x per week (10 – 15 minutes each time) if possible. However, just by attending one class a week and practicing your ABC (Alignment, Breathing and Centering) you will reap the benefits and will feel taller and trimmer as your posture improves.
How long will it be until I see the results?
We all have different bodies and postures and therefore it is simply down to the individual. Generally, with regular practice, between 10-12 sessions you will begin to feel the difference, 20 sessions you will see the difference in your body shape and alignment.
Can I still practice Pilates if I am pregnant?
If you are pregnant it is advisable to wait until the second trimester before commencing Pilates if you are new to the technique. Pilates is an excellent exercise for pregnancy, with many benefits in most cases, but as some exercises require adaptation you are advised to commence with one or more 1 to 1 sessions prior to joining a class. It is essential that you consult your doctor before embarking on any exercise routine if you are pregnant. Once you get clearance from them it is safe to practise Pilates, however it is important that you constantly communicate with your instructor throughout. Sue does not offer post/antenatal pregnancy classes but is fully qualified and happy to give 1-1 private tuition.
I have recently had a baby is Pilates suitable for me?
Absolutely, once you’ve had your 6 week check up and have discussed your exercise plans with your health visitor or GP. It‘s also important to consider how your pregnancy went and what sort of labour and delivery you went through. You might want to think about doing a set of private sessions before joining a group class. Pilates is perfect to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Pilates is also excellent for anyone recovering from a hysterectomy operation.
I have had a hip replacement is Pilates suitable for me?
Yes but please make sure you have your consultant and physiotherapist’s permission beforehand. There will be a few exercises that you won’t be able to do, but Sue will give you alternatives, it is not a problem.
Will Pilates help me to lose weight?
No, not really. Some of the more advanced exercises are fairly aerobic, but most Pilates exercises are not aerobic enough to make you lose weight. Pilates is a great way to get back into exercise if you haven’t exercised for a while and it complements other exercise regimes, whether it is walking, running, swimming, cycling or going to the gym. You can apply the principles you learn to all of these activities and it will help improve your performance.
Can I do Pilates if I have a back problem or other injury?
Before pursuing any exercise programme it is important to check with your doctor. Subject to medical approval Pilates is ideal for people recovering from injury, illness, back problems, osteopenia or osteoporosis or suffering from any activity that involves repetitive movements. Pilates can assist in injury prevention and provide relief from stress. Pilates workouts are slow, gentle and controlled, without any sudden jarring actions. Sue will be able to modify the exercises to accommodate your limitations.
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