By Dr Kimberley Masin – Osteopath

In these chilly months we have been having, it can be difficult to motivate ourselves to leave our cosy burrows of hibernation to exercise. Here in South Yarra we see many more postural related injuries in these winter months due to the desk, sleep, repeat cycle most of us are guilty of falling into. At Yarra Osteopathy, whilst we are always happy to help any patient in need, it’s time to discuss how you can help us, help you!

There are so many Pilates studios around us in South Yarra and it can be confusing to know where to start and which studio to select. For those who are unfamiliar with the practice of Pilates, this article is great as an introduction to the benefits it can have for posture, enhancing your treatments with us, and your general quality of life. For those Pilates regulars don’t shy away just yet; I have some tips for you that can even further the benefits you get from your practice.

What is Pilates
Pilates is a form of exercises that can be aerobic or non aerobic in nature. It requires you to move your body through precise ranges of motion, lengthening, toning and stretching major muscle groups in the body in order to find a balance in function. Position, timing and breathing are the fundamentals in achieving desired results.
Pilates aims to retrain our bodies by getting us to switch on the muscles we tend to neglect (the small stabilising muscles responsible for good posture and movement) whilst relaxing muscles we are used to over-recruiting throughout our daily lives (postural muscles such as trapezius and pec muscles in the shoulder region).
Pilates can be performed in mat classes or with special resistance style equipment, such as the reformer.
Some of the benefits of regular practice include:
• Improved flexibility
• Increased core muscle strength and tone (abdominals, lower back, pelvic floor, glutes)
• Balanced muscular strength on both sides of your body
• Enhanced control of back and limbs
• Improved spinal stability
• Rehabilitation of injury

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The problems with current exercise fads
Current exercise trends such as 12 week body transformations, boot camps and crossfit style work outs can sometimes produce great results but this is rare… They are more commonly associated with burn out and injury. We have been conditioned to believe that to be fit and healthy you have to undergo serious pain, discomfort and extremely strenuous exercise on a daily basis. Like all good things, everything in moderation is going to be a much better approach. I would recommend only partaking in a maximum of three sessions per week and always include some yoga or pilates.
Having the correct supervision is important too… Intense resistance exercise often results in postural adaptations and injury, causing things like shoulder bursitis, tendonitis and lower back pain. A reputable personal trainer or pilates instructor is the best way of minimising injury and maximising results. We can advise you here at Yarra Osteo and point you in the right direction of some great local trainers and instructors.

My Pilates Journey
In 2013 I had a knee reconstruction. I put if off for about three months because I wanted to prepare my body for the big change it was about to undergo and I wanted to be as prepared and strong as I could, in order to facilitate my recovery. I began weekly Clinical Pilates, and after four weeks post-op, I commenced a further 8 weeks of clinical classes.
From this point I moved on to joining a local gym with two reformer Pilates studios and commenced group classes approximately 3-4 times a week, sometimes more on a good week. A couple of months ago, I returned to clinical pilates…I felt I had grown slightly bored with my classes and had learnt all I could from the process and was ready for a higher intensity workout. The change it made to my technique in the group setting was incredible. While I have an exceptional knowledge on how I should be using my body, I still had a few bad habits which had began to cause me to have some postural issues!

Best Pilates Practice
Begin with a couple of one on one sessions. These will not only to educate you on technique, but on how to effectively use the equipment which can be quite complex. From this point, you will most likely “graduate” to a group setting which should contain no more than 10 people to ensure instructors can keep their eye on everyone. Most clinical studios allow a max of 4 participants per class.

We have assessed the local studios and refer to a select few that meet our high standards. Recently I have had a couple of sessions with Melissa Ling from Cor Pilates in Prahran. Her knowledge and instructor skills are truly second to none and I would highly recommend her and the team at Cor.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at Yarra Osteopathy, or contact Melissa Ling at Cor Pilates

Other studios we refer patients to in the local area include:

Pilates International – South Yarra

Shape and Form Pilates

The Melbourne Pilates Group – South Yarra

Dr Kimberley Masin is in the clinic on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays