Some years ago, for a number of reasons, I found myself unable to run. Pretty devastating for the owner of a running shop. I did the round of sports practitioners, trying to find a solution but whenever I tried to return to running the back pain would return with a vengeance. So, I needed to figure out what my body was trying to tell me.
Pilates had always sounded so dull; repetitive exercises where you didn’t even work up a sweat, what was the point of that? However, I was desperate and Pilates cropped up whenever I talked about back pain issues. So, I found a great independent gym (Nordic Balance in Piccadilly, London) and signed up for a few classes.
A month later a visiting friend said, “You look great, have you grown?” At 36 that was somewhat unlikely! But I was doing Pilates every week, loving it – to my surprise – and feeling stronger.
It took some months, the addition of some gym sessions for muscle building, but later that summer I found I could run again and wake the following morning without chronic pain. Fast forward a bit and I was back to marathon training and I recorded a PB 12 months later.
Running is the best aerobic exercise but for ultimate body health we need to balance it with strengthening and stretching. A strong core translates to a more economic and energy efficient stride, less chance of injury and a better runner :-)
Press play for an introduction to Pilates exercises and see for yourself...
I would always recommend that you find a good Pilates class with a teacher you connect with. If that’s impractical for now, here’s a guideline for the exercises in the video:
- Heel Taps: 10 repetitions on each side
- Crunches: 5 to 8, remembering to hold for a few seconds each time
- Side Bends: 6 each side and don’t rush it
- Glutes: 3 reps holding each for 30 secs.
- C-Curve Twist: 5 reps
- Thread the Needle: 2 times each side
Pilates is all about the small movements, so remember:
Precision of movement
Control of movement
Deep breathing rhythm
These are exercises that we've found very useful and want to share with our customers. But we're not certified instructors. Always consult your specialist before beginning any exercise programme. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.