You have to move it to lube it

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If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or any other skeletal or autoimmune disease that has prevented you doing something you love, Pilates may help you.

The last thing you feel like doing when you wake up and feel pain is exercise. Yet it the best thing you can do for yourself to prevent pain, as long as you have permission from your physician. Clients will sometimes say they are hurting and probably shouldn’t be exercising but once they have finished their Pilates session they will say they feel so much better.

Many people suffer pain and stiffness in joints due to inflammation from arthritis. This makes simple tasks difficult, such as unscrewing a lid, turning on a flashlight or buttoning clothing. 21 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis according to Veronica Braun, of the Arthritis Foundation, in San Diego. Many people over 40 experience this due either to natural wear and tear as we get older or repetitive movement from sport or daily repetitive actions while working. Osteoarthritis occurs when the bone rubs on bone due to cartilage at the end of the bone deteriorating.

While there is no cure for diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, fibromyalgia and many other diseases; most medical professionals agree low impact exercise is a benefit for sufferers.

Many people feel pain in their small joints from rheumatoid arthritis. As this affects hands, wrists, knees and feet, attending a large mat Pilate’s class may irritate an already inflamed area due to some of the planks and exercises taught. If you are looking for a safe way to exercise I would recommend attending small mat class at a Pilate’s studio where a trained Pilate’s instructor can offer modifications. Pilate’s instructors at studios have spent many hours training and observing other instructors. They usually only specialize in Pilates which means they will have covered most conditions or have access to knowledge from the best instructors in the world. They often have a network of other health workers such as cranio-sacral therapists. These therapists are very gentle and don’t put a lot of pressure on joints.

Pilates main focus is on diaphragmatic breathing. Think of how you breathe when you sleep and how that relaxes you. It is the most efficient way to take in oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide, a waste product. This leads to more energy. Try  the breathing when you are lying down by inhaling and imagine air flowing into the sides of your torso and back. If you rest your palms on your ribcage you will feel the area expand. Pilates breathing does take a while to learn so don’t be put off because you aren’t feeling it straight away.

Pilates is an excellent choice of exercise as it focuses on stability and joint alignment. I would prefer to see a client start Pilates on the reformer in a private setting, as the reformer helps keep a good posture alignment and uses springs. Until a client understands their personal ranges of movement the reformer is a great way to feel your body. Most people will use the big muscles in the body such as the legs and backside. This is fine while the movements become familiar. The instructor will then be more specific about connecting the mind and body so that eventually you will internalize the movement. Take your time to learn Pilates properly and slowly. A good instructor will not want you to feel uncomfortable after a session and will focus on movement quality not quantity.

You may feel pain but hopefully if you introduce Pilates into your life the pain won’t stop you living your life.

For more information contact Katharine on: 832 867 1059 or go to www.westendhoustonpilates.com. All classes are by appointment and must be prepaid.