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Try Pilates this year!





For many people the new year often starts with promises of exercise!


But the thought of exercising can be terrifying! I know; I've been there!


I trained as a dancer throughout my childhood and teen years, even gaining a full scholarship at a professional performing arts school, which I attended until a series of knee injuries led me to decide to go to university and train as a podiatrist.


My knee issues continued in to my early twenties, and I pretty much stopped exercising. I won't lie; I have always been an active person. And although I was no longer dancing, I walked everywhere, went on ski and snowboard trips once a year, and spent my summers working at children's summer camps (and even taught ballet, gymnastics and trampolining - teaching doesn't always mean you actually have to do it though!); so was generally an active person, that also worked in retail throughout my university years (as well as the hundreds of clinical placement hours)- so was constantly on my feet.


But when it came to actually going to an exercise class, joining a gym, or going for a run - no way!


It wasn't that I didn't want to....but I physically could not bring myself to participate in anything! I was terrified of looking like an idiot, not knowing what I was doing, being the worst in the room, you name it...I was terrified! And it caused me immense anxiety.


And that's how I continued for about six years through university and in the 'real' world..


I was lucky, having spent six hours plus per day dancing as a child/teen had kept me healthy. But after about six years of minimal exercise, I was starting to see the negative effects a sedentary lifestyle was having on me. Back pain, loss of flexibility, breathlessness (that I never had before), weight gain, muscle loss, lethargy, lack of motivation amongst other issues.


Eventually I'd had enough and knew the only way I would be pain free was to start exercising and 'undo' the strain and poor posture my podiatry profession was causing me.





I'd spent quite a lot of time in me teens doing pilates to keep up my strength when injured. And so; I plucked up the courage to go and explore it again. I started with some group classes, realised I enjoyed it and had nothing to be terrified about, did some 1:1's and then realised this was something that was missing from my daily routine, and the majority of my patients lives! From there I went on to do matwork training with APPI and the complete comprehensive course (all the equipment) with Polestar Pilates.


Pilates is suitable for all ages and abilities.


Here at Henley Podiatry and Health Therapies we have a particular interest in using pilates as an addition to your treatment plan.



We also have a special interest in helping those of you who are new to exercise (or terrified of exercise!) learn to 'move' safely and appropriately for you. If you have a long standing injury, such as back pain or hip issues, don't discount pilates! We take a full medical history and discuss your issues prior to starting any exercise plans with you.


And no, you don't have to be flexible, strong, fit or anything else to start pilates!


Pilates is a mind-body exercise that provides daily conditioning, promotes whole body health and develops  mental awareness to optimise your personal performance. It is named after the german physical fitness specialist Joseph Pilates (1880 -1967), who devised the system.


"Research has shown that pilates can help relieve back pain, muscle pain, neck pain, shoulder impingement and other conditions impending physical fitness. Pilates can be effective in re-educating and restoring function following neurological impairment such as stoke, Parkinson's and MS, and is ideal for reducing the effects of aging, osteoperosis, and restoring health and vitality to post treatment cancer survivors. Pilates offers not only a road to recovery, but a way of wellness that can only be realised once pain is stabilized and alleviated.

Pilates can also aid in the treatment of post-surgical conditions, for those recovering from knee, hip, back and other surgeries. A practitioner can help to increase range of motion and diminish habits of guarding and over-recruitment of muscles to restore healthy movement patterns". (www.polestarpilates.com)


Our current 1:1 pilates sessions mean that you will have an hours session dedicated to you focusing on exercises which will benefit you and your goals specifically. Our clinic currently allows space for mat work and some small equipment use. But it is also likely that you will begin to do some standing work relatively quickly, as our ultimate goal is to get you functioning in your daily life!

A first session is therefore required to carry out a health screening to assess your abilities, any issues and moreover your goals from the sessions. We can then begin to build on your session week by week to reach and exceed your goals!


Henley Podiatry and Health Therapies also has a keen interest in using pilates to aid strength and stability in the ageing population, aiming to reduce risk of falls.


"we aim to improve overall mobility by not only focusing on mat work but to also include standing and balance work. This includes but is not limited to working on postural alignment by encouraging appropriate head, neck and shoulder placement and mobility, and importantly focusing on eyeline. Too often we see people beginning to feel unsteady on their feet (which may require further investigation in a podiatry appointment), but actually making things worse by looking at the ground as they feel they are 'watching where they are going'. Unfortunately this actually changes their centre of gravity, causing the head neck and shoulder to curve forwards, making the body's weight feel as though it is 'toppling over'. This is usually apparent when people are trying to do simple daily movements such as standing up, and lose their balance as they are looking at the ground and stumble. Our sessions with this population therefore often focus on improving this overall. Importantly, it may also help someone learn how to get up off the floor correctly if they have fallen. Of course there are some conditions and abilities that may not be suitable, but we are always happy to discuss and explore options available for anyone!'.


If you think you or a member of your family or friend might benefit from some Introductory 1:1 Pilates sessions, why not book our January offer for new pilates clients?


This offer is £100 for:


1x Introductory screening (1 hour)

2x 1:1 sessions (1 hour each)


T&C's: Available until January 31st 2019. All appointments must be booked and used within 1 month (4 weeks). Price to be paid in full at or prior to first session. Offer price is £100 to include 1x initial assessment and 2 x 1 hour sessions. Available to new pilates clients. Only one use of offer per person. Available as a gift voucher. Only available at Henley Podiatry and Health Therapies, 36 Hart Street, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2AU location. Henley Podiatry and Health Therapies reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any time. Appointments/sessions only available during hours clinician is available.



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