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6 Arthritis Myths

Posted on 12th October 2017 by

Today is World Arthritis Day, aiming to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis and World arthritis day access to timely, evidence based treatment of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.

Rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) are commonly classified into inflammatory and non-inflammatory types:

Common non-inflammatory RMDs consist of degenerative spine diseases, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia.

Common inflammatory RMDs consist of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, connective tissue diseases and polymyalgia rheumatica.

There are many myths surrounding these conditions and to shed some light on these, Physiotherapist Gemma has explored them further.

Myth 1: There’s only one type of arthritis

There are several types of arthritis with very different causes, symptoms and treatments. Osteoarthritis is the most common form and is our normal wear and tear as we age. This can give symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and thickening around the joint and typically affects the knees, hips or spine in people over the age of 50. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that typically starts in younger adults and cause redness, heat, swelling and pain often in the small joints of the hands and feet. There are many other forms including juvenile arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. If you are unsure about your symptoms check with your GP or physiotherapist.

Myth 2: My parents had arthritis so I will get it too

Whilst genetics do play a role in the development of arthritis, lifestyle has a much bigger influence. For example, if you are overweight, with a poor diet and a heavy occupation you may be more likely to develop arthritis than a sibling that is a healthy weight and has good strength in the muscles which help to support their joints.

Myth 3: You shouldn’t exercise if you have arthritis

It’s a common belief that if osteoarthritis is wear and tear in the joint, then further exercise will wear it out more. However, the reverse is actually true. By exercising we are mobilising the joint which helps to relieve stiffness, and we are strengthening the muscles around the joints which can help to support and offload the painful area. Low weight-bearing exercises such as cycling or swimming can be a great place to start if your joints are painful enough to limit the type of exercise you are able to do. Specialist classes such as clinical Pilates or our Positive Steps classes for older people are a perfect way to exercise with the right support and guidance.

Myth 4: Arthritis is always painful and will get worse as I get older

If you start noticing the symptoms of osteoarthritis there’s a lot of things you can do to help relieve and even abolish the pain yourself. Start simply by using a heat pack such as a hot water bottle or microwavable wheat pack to help ease stiffness and aches. Then begin gentle stretches of the affected joints, you need to do these little and often to be effective, but don’t push into pain.

Consider your diet and exercise levels, extra body weight puts a lot of extra stress and strain on our joints so shedding even a few pounds can help. A physiotherapist can give you personalised advice, hands-on treatment such as joint mobilisations, soft tissue massage, acupuncture and a tailored exercise prescription have all been shown to be effective in relieving the pain of arthritis. We see many patients who remain pain-free and active for years with these simple solutions.

Myth 5: If I have arthritis I will need a joint replacement

Joint replacement surgery is a major operation and always considered a last resort rather than a quick fix. Start by following the tips above and if you still find you are struggling with everyday activities seek advice from your GP. They will be able to organise an x-ray to assess the degree of wear and tear in your affected joint and ask you questions about the types of activities you are struggling with and if you have tried modifying lifestyle factors such as diet, weight and exercise. Remember some unaffected joints may show equal or even worse wear on x-ray but be completely asymptomatic. Therefore, there is no need to undergo the risks of surgery if it is not causing you any pain.

Myth 6: Supplements help

A lot of research has been conducted into supplements such as glucosamine and chrondroitin which are thought to help rebuild damage cartilage in arthritic joints. However, the vast amount of the research in this area is flawed or bias (i.e. research conducted on animals rather than humans, or conducted by the company’s manufacturing the product with a vested interest in positive results). The more recent unbiased research shows these supplements to be no better than a placebo. That said, some people do feel they get some benefit from supplements so consider trying them for up to 3 months to weigh up the cost versus the benefit yourself.

If you need any help or support then please do get in touch. Our team of Clinicians and range of services can really help educate and inform you about your condition and find ways for you to help live with your condition positively.


Back Care Awareness Week – Back Pain in Education

Posted on 2nd October 2017 by

The annual Back Care Awareness Week, run by BackCare, the UK’s leading charity for those impacted by back or neck pain, is to take place between 2 and 6 October. The theme this year is Back Pain in Education.

Back pain is one of the top common causes of absence from work throughout the country. It costs the UK economy around £15 billion every year as over four million working days are lost as a result of the condition. Furthermore, about 80% of the UK population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.

BackCare decided it was important to run a campaign targeted at children and young people as many of the back and neck pain problems experienced by adults are due to them not looking after their backs during childhood and teenage years.

Back pain
The image here, that BackPain have promoted has the message ‘Don’t pick up heavy things’. There’s nothing wrong with picking up something heavy! In all our years as Physiotherapists, I don’t recall we’ve ever seen a young patient who’s injured their back by picking up something too heavy!

Dr Brian Hammond, the Chair of BackCare said: “Early teaching of children and young people of the importance of taking care of their backs is bound to have a positive effect on the health of their backs as adults.”

He added: “There are simple things children and young people can do, such as sitting properly and not for too long, exercising regularly, stretching and lifting correctly. They also need to know how to carry their school books and equipment in a way that does not harm their back or neck.”

Why we somewhat disagree with this years message!

However, leading Physiotherapists and the latest research will tend to disagree with some of the points raised in this campaign. Although we agree that education and empowering people with understanding and knowledge of taking care of their bodies from a young age is crucial, implying that they can damage their spines by doing normal, everyday tasks like carrying a school bag, is a myth. These messages can lead to an unnecessary fear, which can then progress into adulthood.

Research is suggesting that there isn’t a ‘perfect posture’ or ‘best way to carry a bag’. So implying that young children can ‘harm’ their back or neck in these ways isn’t a positive message to put across.

This image sums up perfectly how children should be caring for their backs – not focusing on correct postures or harmful habits – moving regularly!

Kids perfect posture

So what messages should we be sharing?

  • Exercise and movement is the key – youngsters should be encouraged and supported to take part in a wide variety of exercise, sport and activities that encourage regular, whole body movement that they enjoy! It doesn’t really matter what it is, but enjoyment and instilling a lifelong, love of being active is the best way to prevent developing any back problems.
  • Move regularly – our bodies aren’t designed to be still. It’s not the posture that’s the problem, but staying in single positions for too long that can lead to issues. So, when you read about issues such as ‘text neck’, it tends to be the duration that people are using their devices in, in a single, sustained position that can cause issues. If you held a so called ‘perfect posture’ for any sustained length of time, this could cause issues!
  • Don’t be afraid of pain – aches and pains can be a normal everyday occurrence. We can all feel a bit of stiffness, aching, muscle soreness etc. But pain doesn’t always equal damage. Particularly with back pain, being afraid of the pain tends to lead to us being overly protective, not moving as much, which in turn can cause more pain. It’s a vicious circle. As long as there are no indications to be concerned that something more serious is going on to cause the pain (trauma, pins & needles or numbness, problems going to the toilet, pain at night for example – if any of these are present, it’s advised to see your GP ASAP), then we need to install the confidence that the pain is OK.
  • Be careful with the language we use – particularly with children, the words we use if they’re in pain can be very influential. Negative words like harm, damage, out of place, torn, can all create very negative messages. We need to focus on positive messages like strong and active. Being overly focused on carrying things correctly at a young age, will install a fear that their backs aren’t designed to cope with such a normal, everyday, task – which ins’t true.

There are obviously times and instances when children do develop back or neck pain. This can be caused by sustained postures (often technology related) and a lack of exercise of general movement. In these cases, specific education and increasing their awareness is a key part of helping them overcome any pain they are experiencing. Postural education may be a part of this.

It’s great that BackCare are are raising awareness of back issues in this campaign, but let’s keep the messages positive and not install a fear into young people that their backs might not be fit for the job!

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Older People’s Day on October 1st!

Posted on 1st October 2017 by

Older People’s Day takes place on 1st October and this year celebrates the achievements and contributions that older people make to our society and the economy.

With age comes wisdom and life experience that is invaluable when passed on to younger generations. From looking after the grandchildren to volunteering at a local church group or running a community art class, life rarely slows down after retirement nowadays!

People are living longer than ever before with average life expectancy in the UK rising to 79.4 years, but how can we make sure we stay active and continue to enjoy good quality of life into our golden years?

If you don’t use it you lose it!

By keeping active we maintain muscle strength and joint flexibility, as well as keeping blood pressure and cholesterol under control to reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Exercise can also help with weight loss and improve mood and mental wellbeing too…bonus!

Am I too old to exercise?

No! Its never too late.. check out these inspiring examples…………..

Fauna Singh tao Lynch Yoga

Tao Porchon-Lynch, the world’s oldest yoga teacher has just turned 98 and Fauja Singh; the 104 year old marathon runner who only took up running in his 80’s!

Where do I start?

If you haven’t exercised for years, start slowly – older joints will have a tendency to be stiffer, particularly in the mornings and in cold weather.

A physiotherapist can help by assessing your muscle strength, flexibility and balance and create a tailored individual exercise programme to address these as well as treating any aches and pains you may have.

A gentle stretching routine every morning might be all that’s needed to keep you supple enough to chase after those grandchildren!

Ideas for staying active

  • Walking
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Table tennis
  • Falls prevention classes/Chair based exercise classes – why not try our specialist Positive Steps classes. Held twice a week they are specifically designed to help maintain and improve strength, balance, flexibility and fitness for those 60+, in a friendly, social and caring environment.
  • Dancing – did you know dancing has been shown to reverse signs of aging in the brain and improve mental and physical wellbeing in an older population, it’s even being used to help treat Parkinson’s disease!

How long do I need to keep it up for?

The key is to find something you enjoy, that makes you feel good so that it doesn’t feel like hard work to keep it up indefinitely. Whether that’s a Pilates class, dancing or gardening the most important thing is that you’re getting out there and getting moving!

It often doesn’t take any fancy equipment and there are no requirements for lycra or leotards but all you need is a healthy disregard for the stereotype of age and a little bit of motivation to stay youthful!

Here are some very simple exercises you can do to help maintain strength and balance.

Read More

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Open Day Success!

Posted on 19th September 2017 by

We had a fantastic day on Saturday, as we welcomed so many people through our doors to experience many of the different services we have on offer here at goPhysio in Chandlers Ford, meet our team and find out more about our lifesaving defibrillator.

Visitors on the day took part in Pilates classes, our Active Backs classes for people who want to gain confidence again exercising with back pain, Positive Steps classes for the later years of life and Yoga with Marianne.

We were also delighted to offer free sports massage taster sessions, free injury advice clinics with our Physiotherapists & Sports Therapists and carried out lots of computerised foot analyses.

Linda, a local community first responder, kindly offered some basic CPR training and dispelled many myths about using a public access defibrillator.

It was wonderful meeting so many local people. Thank you for your support!

goPhysio Chandlers Ford Open Day goPhysio Chandlers Ford Open Day

goPhysio Chandlers Ford Open Day goPhysio Chandlers Ford Open Day

goPhysio Chandlers Ford Open DaygoPhysio Chandlers Ford Open Day

goPhysio Chandlers Ford Open Day

goPhysio Chandlers Ford Open Day

 

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Starting Pilates – how hard is it and how long until I feel the benefit?

Posted on 21st July 2017 by

Starting any new form of exercise can seem daunting at first, many us worry about looking silly in front of a class or not knowing what to do, what to expect or even what to wear!

The best way to combat this is to come along to one of our highly recommended 1-2-1 sessions first. This allows you to talk through any health or injury concerns with a physiotherapist so that they can modify exercises to suit your individual needs and guide you towards a suitable level class for you.

You’ll also learn the basics of what pilates is: finding your postural muscles and learning some of the common beginner exercises to get you up to speed before entering a class.
You’ll have the chance to ask questions about anything else you’re concerned about so you can start your first class in confidence.

The first class can be as much as a mental workout as a physical one whilst you get used to controlling your breathing whilst using new muscles in a new way. However no one expects you to be perfect straight away so don’t panic – the Clinician leading the class will make sure you’re exercising safely and at the correct level, as long as you are still breathing that’s a good enough start for the first few weeks so don’t worry if you can’t co-ordinate everything straight away!

As with learning any new skill it takes time. Remember that pilates is non-competitive so you will work at your own level during each class. We’ll progress your exercises gradually and encourage you to move up to intermediate and advanced level classes when you’re ready.

It can take 6-8weeks to build muscle, and much longer if you’ve had pain or weakness in an area for a long time so whilst we can’t expect an overnight body transformation, you will notice the difference if you stick with it. Our regular pilates attendees report increased flexibility, reduced pain, improved balance, improved muscle tone and strength, better posture and improved confidence to exercise as just a few of the benefits of our classes!

pilates gophysio pilates gophysio

Don’t forget – everyone was a beginner at some point and our classes provide a really supportive and friendly environment to exercise.

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Flexible Summer Pilates at goPhysio

Posted on 11th July 2017 by

Summer Pilates goPhysio

 

Over the summer, we are running a Summer Pilates Timetable – with a flexible booking system so you can continue to enjoy our Pilates classes in and around the holidays!

From Monday 31st July – Friday 1st September, we’re running 11 classes a week at a variety of times and various levels.

Sign up & book here! 

Summer Pilates goPhysio

  • Clinical Pilates, specialist clinician led classes – perfect if your recovering from an injury or suffer with a long term condition, such as back pain
  • Small classes – maximum of 10 participants, giving individual attention, support and guidance
  • Comfortable, spacious, air conditioned studio
  • Flexible booking system, no tie in, pick and choose your classes
  • Choose from single PAYG class £12.50 or 5 classes for £55

How To Book A Summer Pilates Class

  1. Visit the Studio Bookings member sign up page
  2. Enter all your details and click ‘Sign up’.
  3. You will be prompted to sign in to your account.
  4. Before booking your first class, you will need to sign a ‘Waiver of liability’.
  5. Click on the ‘MY INFO’ tab and then the ‘Waiver of Liability’ tab.
  6. Sign the waiver of liability electronically.
  7. To purchase your class pass(es), visit the ‘STORE’ tab.
  8. Select the pass you’d like to purchase and add to basket.
  9. For Summer Pilates you can buy:
    1. A single (PAYG) class for £12.50 per class – select CLINICAL PILATES SINGLE CLASS
    2. 5 classes for £55 – select CLINICAL PILATES 5 CLASSES
  10. Proceed to checkout to pay for your class pass.
  11. To book a class, visit the ‘CLASSES’ tab.
  12. You will see the live class timetable.
  13. Click on your selected Clinical Pilates class and select the dates you would like to book.
  14. Click book now.
  15. You can book classes up to 2 hours before the class starts.

You can then manage all your class bookings online through the live Studio Timetable.

You can also download an app for your apple phone here or Android phone here, to enable you to manage your classes.

If you have any problems using the online booking site or would rather book and pay for your classes in person at reception, our reception team can help you with this.

FREE STUDIO CLASS

When you sign up for a Studio Bookings account, you will also get a free class pass you can use to try one of our other classes. This free class pass can be used to try one of out Yoga classes, Active Backs or Positive Steps classes. All of these can be booked online too.

T&Cs

  • All sales are final.
  • Class passes cannot be shared.
  • Class passes have an expiry date. No classes can be carried over after the expiry date of the purchased pass and no refunds will be issued for unused classes.
  • All purchased Pilates class passes expire on 1st September 2017.
  • A strict 24 hour cancellation policy applies to studio classes, including rescheduling to another time. We understand unforeseen circumstances arise, however in the interests of being fair and consistent to all clients there will be no exceptions.
  • No shows will be automatically be deducted from your class pass.
  • We reserve the right to cancel or change classes on the timetable.
  • The free studio class expires 1 month after registering with Studio Bookings. This free class can not be used for Clinical Pilates.

Read More

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Centering – The Building Block of Pilates

Rehabilitation Pilates

DOWNLOAD FULL COURSE DETAILS HERE -> Summer 2017 Pilates Letter

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Happy Pilates Day!

Posted on 6th May 2017 by

Chandlers Ford Pilates DayIt’s Pilates Day today! A day for the Pilates community to unite in celebration of everything Joseph and Clara Pilates brought to the world.

Pilates Day spotlights the joy experienced through Pilates – in health, community and quality of life.

As our regular Saturday morning class begins in our studio, with 10 people starting their weekend with a full body exercise, we thought it would be a great opportunity to tell you a little more about the joy that is Pilates!

What Is Pilates, Anyway?

Pilates is a series of controlled movements designed to strengthen muscles – with an emphasis on the body’s core. It was developed by Joseph Pilates, a German of Greek ancestry who came to the United States before World War II. The popularity of his methods spread gradually, finally hitting the mainstream in the 1990s.

Pilates believed that the key to good fitness was to use precise, controlled movements using the body’s own weight as natural resistance (he later invented several machines for Pilates training). His exercises focus on breath control, concentration on the overall movements required and the proper alignment of the body. The meditation needed to do Pilates correctly represented his belief in the connection between physical and mental health.

There are a lot of similarities between Pilates and yoga. They share some movements, as well as the focus on breathing and control. However, their origins are very different.

Although both exercises can be performed on mats, Pilates isn’t a form of yoga. You need no other special equipment. Most Pilates exercises involve holding a body part in a particular position while you control your breathing. For example, you might lie on your side and raise your top leg several inches up. This exercises both the muscles that lift the leg, the muscles that stabilise the rest of the body and the muscles required for controlled breathing.

What is Clinical Pilates?

The classes we offer here at goPhysio are ‘Clinical Pilates’. This means that the Instructors are also clinical graduates, so Physiotherapists or Sports and Rehabilitation Therapists. They are all trained with the APPI method of Pilates.

The APPI PIlates Method is the creation of two Australian Physiotherapists, Glenn and Elisa Withers. The method is based on over 14 years of clinical practice in treating movement dysfunctions through their roles as world leading Physiotherapists and Pilates teachers. The Method encompasses three core areas of pain, pathology and function. Each Pilates movement
has been analysed based on these three core areas.

Pain is a chemical and as such alters the way certain muscles move and therefore can dictate the way these muscles need to be rehabilitated through the APPI Pilates Method.

Pathology is the term used to describe an injury and this has been analysed to dictate what movements will help a set pathology, and what movement might make a sert pathology worse. This forms the indications and contraindications of the APPI Method. Finally Function.

Function is the term used to describe how we do our everyday tasks.

APPI has analysed all of the Pilates movements for their ability to help us retrain a certain function. This means that the APPI Method is much more than just a way of toning a person physique, but is a research based, clinical application of improving the way a person moves and functions in their everyday life.

The APPI Pilates method has now been applied in areas as diverse as physiotherapy injury rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation, neurological rehabilitation, elite sports rehabilitation, elderly care, womens health and much more.

Our Classes

We run a range of Clinical Pilates classes here at goPhysio in our onsite studio. It’s a very welcoming and comfortable space and you’ll be supported and encouraged positively throughout.

  • Classes are run in 8 week blocks, costing £100 a block.
  • We run 17 classes a week – have a look at our latest timetable to find a class that might suit you.
  • Classes are small, there will be a maximum of 10 people per class.
  • You’ll find the classes are individually tailored and progressed to challenge you positively.
  • Read more about our Pilates classes here.

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Pilates vs Yoga

Posted on 19th April 2017 by

We’ve been offering clinical Pilates classes at goPhysio in Chandlers Ford now since 2011. We started with 2 classes and have now grown our timetable to 18 classes a week.

People are often very familiar with yoga and what it may entail but aren’t so sure about Pilates. A question we often get asked is

“What’s the difference between yoga & Pilates?”

Pilates

Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates back in the early 1900’s. It started as a series of physical exercises based on the concept of an integrated, comprehensive system, which he called Pilates classes Chandlers Ford‘Controlology’.

Pilates encourages the use of the mind to control muscles, focusing attention on the core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and provide support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breathing and alignment of the spine, and strengthen the deep torso and abdominal muscles.

There are many different types of Pilates, the most popular being mat based classes or those using equipment such as Reformers or Cadillacs.

Pilates focuses on:

  • Strength
  • Movement control
  • Core stability
  • Breathing
  • Alignment

People who regularly practice Pilates find that it is a great way to manage and ease many common conditions such as back pain. It is regularly incorporated into training programmes of top athletes as a way of preventing injuries and optimising physical wellbeing.

Yoga

The development of yoga can be traced back over 5000 years. Yoga cultivates physical, emotional, mental and social health and wellbeing. The practice of yoga includes postures and movement, breath awareness and breathing exercises, relaxation and concentration, and meditation. Yoga Pilates Chandlers Ford

There are many different styles of yoga. Familiar ones include Hatha, Bikram, Anusara, Viniyoga or Ashtanga. The styles vary on the intensity, amount of relaxation incorporated into the practice, the flow and philosophy.

Yoga focuses on:

  • Flexibility
  • Broad muscle groups
  • Relaxation and spirituality
  • Balance
  • Strength
  • Endurance

People can benefit from both yoga and Pilates, you don’t have to choose! The most important thing is to try different classes and do something you enjoy, that supports your lifestyle and goals. Both Pilates and yoga can complement each other well.

All Pilates bookings are done directly at the clinic either in person or over the phone. These classes are run as 8 week courses, £100 per course.

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Centering – The Building Block Of Pilates

Posted on 9th February 2017 by

One of the key element of Pilates is ‘setting your centre’. In every day speak that means getting all your deep abdominal & pelvic muscles working together in harmony! This action forms the basis of many Pilates exercises. It sounds easy but can take some practice to get it right!

Start by lying on your back in a rest position and finding a neutral spine position.

Pilates abdominal setting

Finding neutral spine position

  1. Place your thumbs in your belly button, your fingertips on the pubic bone and flatten the heels of your hands onto the bony pelvic bones to form a diamond shape – the pelvic diamond.
  2. Tilt the pelvic diamond away from you to exaggerate the arch in your lower back.
  3. Tilt the pelvic diamond towards you to flatten your back.
  4. Repeat these gentle tilting movement a few more times.
  5. Now position the pelvic diamond in the middle of these two positions – this is your neutral spine position.

Setting your centre with abdominals muscles

  1. Feel your deep abdominal corset by placing your fingertips on your bony pelvic bones and then sliding your fingertips in and down 4cm.
  2. Now imagine your deep abdominal muscles forming a natural corset, criss-crossing the torso in layers. There are 10 notches in this corset, below the belly button, just like a belt. Breathe in to prepare, breathe out all the way and before the next breath in slowly and gently draw in the muscular corset from below the belly button onto the third notch.
  3. You should feel the muscles under your fingertips subtly draw away.
  4. Hold your centre and keep breathing normally. Less is better – the contraction is very gentle so don’t over do it.

Setting your centre with pelvic floor muscles

  1. Gently draw your pelvic floor muscles in and up to hold your bladder from emptying.
  2. Now breathe normally and try to keep that engagement in your pelvic floor muscles.
  3. Now place your fingertips onto your deep abdominal muscles. You may also feel the muscles under your fingertips gently draw away – this is normal!

You should practice both the abdominal and pelvic floor elements and combining them.

Once you’ve mastered it laying down, you can also practice it standing up or sitting.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Pilates or coming along to one of our specialist rehabilitation Pilates classes, just give us a call on 023 8025 3317. We have a full timetable of classes, for all levels of ability.


The Benefit Of Pilates For Winter Sports

Posted on 16th January 2017 by

Winter is upon us and with that, ski and boarding seasons are in fill swing!

We get lots of enquiries at the clinic about how best to prepare for skiing holidays and how to prevent the worst from happening with injuries.

In today’s blog, we’ll look at why preparing for your ski or snow boarding holiday is important and what Pilates is – if you haven’t come across it before

Ski holidays are a big commitment, both physically and financially. They are also time limited, so most people ski around 6-8 hours a day for 5-7 days in a row. This can be a huge increase in demands on your body if you normally sit in an office all day!

Pilates can help to prepare you for the slopes in many ways:

  • Helps to prepare the body for intense period of exercise
  • Reduces the risk of injuries
  • Improves fitness
  • Addresses muscle imbalances
  • Helps you make the most of your holiday!

Pilates is a low impact form of exercise, usually mat based, that centres around the idea of maintaining a strong ‘core’ during dynamic movement patterns. It works on improving balance, flexibility, muscle strength and posture. It incorporates elements of yoga, martial arts and Western forms of exercise.

So how does having a well trained ‘core’ help me on the slopes? 

There are 4 key elements that will help you during your time on the slopes – Posture, Alignment, Control & Muscle Balance.

I’m sure you’ve seen it before, some people struggle to even stay upright! During this struggle their muscles are so tense and working so hard to keep them upright, thinking about posture goes out of the window!

Posture

A crucial part of winter sports is how you stand on your skis or board.

Incorrect posture will force your body to work much harder than it needs to, which is really inefficient. So, you’ll find that some of your muscles will tire much more quickly and your body will generally fatigue.

When you’re on your skis or board, your posture needs to be stable, yet easily adaptable to the dynamic nature of snow sports.

Pilates helps posture by educating the right postural muscles for you. It teaches postural muscles to work effectively and efficiently.

Alignment

This follows on from posture. Alignment is the relationship in your body between key areas like your head, shoulders, pelvis, hips, knees & ankles. So, if you were drawing a line between these key points like a dot to dot – there will be good and not so good patterns of alignment.

Learning to align your body in its optimal position, will reduce the strain on joints and muscles. Correct alignment will improve your control and balance.

We take it for granted, thinking our body will naturally do this, but a lifetime of postural stresses, injuries, sitting at desks, driving etc. will effect our optimal alignment. We may have tight weak muscles or even some that don’t ‘switch on’ when they’re needed.

Pilates really works to optimise your alignment, teaching all those bits of your body to work efficiently in relationship to each other. Being conscious of your alignment will carry over to your time on the slopes and you will reap the benefits in efficiency, endurance and preventing injury.

Control

Being able to control your body effectively allows you to make small changes without over or under compensating. This skill is vital in skiing and boarding. Reduced control results in working harder than you need to, overstraining the body.

All the moves and exercises in Pilates will challenge and educate body control. Practising control off the slopes will help it become second nature when you’re on the slopes! Let’s face it, when you’re hurtling down a slippery mountain with an equally slippery piece of equipment attached to your feet, a bit of control is a nice thing to have!

Muscle Balance

Muscle imbalances are common throughout the body and don’t always result in a problem. But if your body is being put under greater prolonged physical stress (like a week skiing!), imbalances can become problematic. Weak muscles can be forced to use increased tone or tension to help support them, which increases their work load. Other muscles can work overtime to try and compensate. As skiing/boarding is a whole body exercise, it’s important to address any imbalances you may have.

Pilates is a great form of exercise to do this, that really works the whole body. When practising Pilates exercises you can quickly find out which areas are weak or tight!! It will really teach those ares to work and address any compensations your body is making.

So, how exactly can Pilates can help prevent injuries and keep me safe during my trip!

All of the points above are vital injury prevention tips – correct posture and alignment, better control and well balanced muscles will all reduce the risk of injury.

Any area of the body can be injured when skiing, as it’s a whole body sport. This includes joints, bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons. An injury can vary from a minor muscle strain to a major bone/joint injury such as fracture or dislocation.

Pilates specifically can help you:

  • Maintain control
  • Improve balance – reducing the risk of falling
  • Distribute the load evenly throughout your body – reducing the risk of overworked muscles
  • Increase your flexibility – helping you maintain the correct posture and stance
  • Improve your dynamic movement control – allowing you to adapt to your terrain

Pilates will give you the skills needed to have a safe and enjoyable time away – plus it’s a great form of exercise all year round! The benefits are transferrable to everyday life and exercise too, not just extreme winter sports.

If you’re interested in experiencing for yourself how Pilates can benefit you, come and join one of our classes. We run an extensive timetable of classes, including daytime, evening and Saturday mornings – with a range of levels to suit all.

The goPhysio Team also have some top tips to help reduce the risk of injury on the slopes

Fiona – Listen to your body! Don’t keep going if you feel like you need a break.

Kim – Get any pre-exisiting injuries treated BEFORE you go – don’t leave it until the last minute! You really wouldn’t believe the number of people we see at the clinic a few days before they’re due to go skiing, who’ve had an injury for ages and call us in desperation (normally looking for a knee brace to solve their problem!). Think ahead!!

Paul – Pace yourself throughout the day and have regular breaks to top up energy levels with a hot chocolate!

Sarah – Just in case……make sure you have some insurance to cover any injuries or illnesses while you’re away.

We hope you have a safe & happy holiday!

p.s. Obviously, some injuries are totally unavoidable. So if you do find yourself heading home not quite in one piece, we’re here to help you recover too. You can book an appointment online or give us a call. We aim to offer you an appointment within 24 hours, if not the same day so you can get sorted without delay. All our team are keen skiers or boarders, so know exactly what you’re talking about.