Pre- And Post-Operation Strengthening
Pilates is often recommended by doctors, physiotherapists and osteopaths as a way either to strengthen key muscles before surgery or to build them up again after it.
When surgery is inevitable, it's best to be prepared. 'The stronger you are before an operation, the better you will endure it and shorter the rehabilitation is going to be,' says Peter Ottevanger, head teacher of Pilates Central.
After an operation, Pilates is a gentle, low-impact way to regain lost muscle tone and strength, at a time when, for example, visiting a gym and attempting a full workout could involve too much exertion too soon.
Pilates can also help improve the mental state of a recovering patient, by helping to keep the mind relaxed and focused.
'It is wonderful for injuries,' says Joan Bakewell, the writer, broadcaster and Pilates devotee. Indeed, Pilates is frequently used in the treatment of, for example, car accident injuries, such as whiplash. Exercises can be tailored to focus precisely on the injured area, providing both the stimulation and support for a quick recovery.
Meanwhile, many people with joint and back complaints claim that Pilates has helped them avoid surgery altogether.
Before starting any exercise programme while you are in pain or ill, however, please ask the advice of your doctor.