Pilates News January

Welcome to our Pilates news from around the world, January edition.

In this issue:

  • New Year Pilates
  • Doctor in the house
  • Paddling Pilates
  • Reformer club

New Year Pilates

“Get fit from scratch in 12 easy steps,” writes Zoe Williams tackling New Year fitness resolutions in the Guardian. After walking, breathwork and circuits for the first three months of 2024, she recommends reformer Pilates for April. “You might be lying down on it, standing up, pushing the bench in and out with your arms or legs; whichever way, you’re working muscle tone, balance and flexibility in a very low-impact way, so it’s all-ages and great after injury.”

After going through weight training, running, swimming, yoga, bouldering or Parkour, fell running and natural movement, Williams recommends aerial Pilates in December. She describes how you hang a silk from a loop in the ceiling. “Essentially, you’re doing resistance and strength work acrobatically, and at a weird angle: you might be doing a pull-up, but with your feet in the silk and your whole body in the air it looks harder than it is and immensely cool. There’s a huge sense of play… You’ll need a class obviously. It’s quite a commitment to install silks in your house plus what would the neighbours think?”

New Year Pilates

The Times was at it too, recommending “wilates aka Wall Pilates” in its “13 fun (and fashionable) ways to get fit on 2024.” Wilates has had 20 million views on TikTok and is “Pilates with the support of a wall to add resistance to the movements.”

Though columnist Emma Beddington in the Guardian took a slightly different approach to January resolutions: “I have sincerely tried several times to book Pilates classes this month but they’re all booked up. Scientifically speaking, this means I have “done” Pilates: that’s January maths.”

Thankfully the alternative to filling your home with Reformers and silks, wilates or just failing to book a class is simply to visit Pilates Central in the New Year.

Doctor in the house

BBC Sounds’ podcast Just One Thing… where Dr Michael Mosley provides one bit of advice to improve your life, has proved very popular. Last year he advocated “Practise Pilates” in his 14-minute podcast and it’s well worth a listen. Dr Mosley explains how Pilates “is good for your deep core muscles, lifts your mood and can give your brain a boost.”

Dr Mosley mentions a 2018 Brazilian study, which showed that after a 12-week course of Pilates the speed of middle distance runners improved by ten per cent. He interviews Professor Ruth Melo from the University of San Paulo, who reveals that in her study of older women after 12 weeks of Pilates they could walk 30 metres further than at the start of the study. The women also improved in sit to stand tests, being stronger and better balanced.

Pilates with Michael Mosley

In a practical test Dr Mosley asks Rambali an engineer from Manchester to take up Pilates three times a week and see if he can improve his tennis serve. After a week of Pilates Rambali says, “I’ve felt great after classes. I feel my flexibility, core strength and posture are improving… it’s helped with my sleep as well. My biggest regret is I didn’t take this up sooner.” Which all sounds like a prescription for Pilates.  

Paddling Pilates

Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is one of Britain’s fastest growing sports and requires a good core. Many older women have taken it up, and Marie Buchanan from Salcombe in Devon is now a SUP legend and double Gold medal winner in the 50+ Masters at the ICF World Championships in Thailand. She started out windsurfing but later turned to paddleboarding and has been competing at international SUP competitions since 2013.

Paddling Pilates

The SUPfm podcast recently asked Marie, who is a trained physio,  how she keeps delivering year after year at such a high level. Buchanan answered: “I keep it fresh. I need to mix things up… on a typical training week if it’s windy my go to is wind and waves, I’ll go out trying to catch some waves. You’ll rarely see me in the gym, but as you get older I do have to do the maintenance work to keep my body working and make sure I don’t get any over-use injuries. I do some off-water stuff which is mainly Pilates and a little bit of strength training.” Good to know Pilates is the go-to training for a double world champion.

Reformer club

“I thought £50 for Pilates was ridiculous – until it fixed my bad back,” is the headline for Marina Gask’s piece on reformer Pilates in the Daily Telegraph. Gask reveals it’s been 25 years since she last did a Pilates class, “but as I’m lying on my back in Michelle Kemp’s Northern Sky reformer Pilates studio in Worthing, with limbs suspended in straps, doing repetitive sequences and feeling those core muscles tightening I know that when you get it right, the results are amazing.”

Gask, who is in her sixties, writes that she is suffering after “some deadlifts in a local gym sent my weak back muscles into painful spasms that lasted for days.” Her teacher Michelle Kemp assures her that: “This is exactly what reformer Pilates is good for. If you have a weakness, you discuss it and work on it in a supported way to strengthen the muscles around it.” The piece includes a useful diagram of a reformer with explanations of what each section does.

Pilates Reformer Club

“I have to admit that there’s something a bit Carry On Doctor about lying prone on a bed, legs up, feet in straps, surrounded by bars and pulleys,” writes Gask, explaining that the “medical vibe” is apt, since Joseph Pilates invented the reformer in the infirmary at his internment camp during the first world war.

Marina feels, “my own blighted lower back was eased by the one session I had, at least for a few hours.” It seems that Gask will be back for more sessions as she concludes: “So is it worth the expense? I’m certainly up for finding a local class. Maintaining the body is far preferable to umpteen quick fixes with an osteopath.”

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The Pilates Central Team

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