Pilates helps increase flexibility, balance, mobility, and coordination. It can build strength, decrease back pain, strengthen your core, prevent injury, decrease body fat, and increase cardiovascular health.
Pilates is flexible (no pun intended). It can be tailored to every body shape, experience level, or age. In fact, you don’t even necessarily need equipment or a Pilates machine. To get the best results, however, you should be using some equipment.
Pilates Workout Without Equipment
If you don’t have time to make it to a studio for a full Pilates class, you can still do a simple Pilates workout at home. All you need is yourself and, preferably, a mat. There are a number of core strengthening exercises that you can do at home on your own.
Single leg circles, criss-cross, the saw, and mermaid are among the simple exercises that you can do by yourself for a quick workout. However, there are limitations to what you can do at home. A Pilates workout without equipment might be a little bit light when it comes to getting stronger, tightening your core, and burning calories.
Not sure where to start when it comes to selecting or using Pilates equipment? Here are some great options:
Pilates was created in the 1920’s and refined until the 1960’s by Joseph Pilates, and it quickly spread amongst ballet dancers looking to improve their flexibility, build core strength, and warm up their muscles. Since then it has grown to become one of the most popular and effective low-impact functional exercise programs.
Barre classes blend Pilates with dance and cardio to build strength and increase overall fitness. Using the ballet barre is a throwback to the origins of Pilates. But it is not just a symbolic gesture. Combining Pilates with dance is a fun and highly effective method of building a well-rounded routine.
There are some complex Pilates moves that simply can’t be done without equipment, or even with the help of a ballet barre. Pilates machines like the Reformer make complex movements possible and add resistance to build strength.
Pilates machines can be quite expensive, but thankfully, we have the available in our studio at Absolute Pilates and in our classes we’ll show you how to use them safely and properly so you get the full benefit of your workout. The Reformer is one of the most comprehensive and trusted Pilates machines, and with the aid of a professional to guide you through your workout you’ll tighten your core, build muscle, and lose fat.
If you are looking for some Pilates equipment that you can use at home then the Pilates ring is a good choice. This device that gives some simple exercises an added kick and has its own dedicated movements as well. The Pilates ring is a fraction of the cost of Pilates machine like the Reformer however, it is less versatile and doesn’t offer the same effective results.
Exercise Ball and Bosu
An exercise ball and bosu are not necessary for every Pilates workout but they can significantly increase your balance, coordination, core strength and even bone density – especially when they are used in a class led by a Pilates expert. Like the Pilates ring, the exercise ball and bosu are affordable at home options for Pilates enthusiasts.
In addition to the Pilates machine, Pilates ring, and the exercise ball and bosu, there are many more pieces of Pilates equipment that can enhance your workout. Chief among them is TRX equipment which is used for building core and upper body strength. However, like a Pilates machine, TRX equipment is pricey, and best utilised as part of a class.
Almost anyone can do a basic Pilates workout on their own. But for a more advanced workout you should be using Pilates equipment, and a Pilates machine in particular. Due to the high cost of buying your own equipment, your best option is to join a Pilates class, like the ones offered at Absolute Pilates where you will benefit from the expertise of a professional Pilates trainer.
It’s not just for pampering and relaxation —massage therapy has a number of benefits and should be an important addition to your health regime. Each year studies from trusted medical sources like the Mayo Clinic confirm that massage can be used together with standard medical treatments to improve health conditions, like:
Understand your massage therapy coverage and maximize your benefits
The frequency of your massage therapy treatments depends on your condition, treatment goals and existing insurance coverage. Massage therapy is often covered through employee health benefits or other forms of private insurance. Patients with coverage often plan their massage frequency to coincide with how to best maximize pre-existing coverage. Meadowlands Physiotherapy can help you understand your coverage and how to maximize your benefits.
The American Chiropractic Association suggests getting a massage once or twice a month for general relaxation and to maintain a low stress level. If your goal is general relaxation, then consider getting a traditional massage once a month and a hot stone massage once a month. Hot stone massage is a great way to relieve stress, but it also offers excellent health benefits by expanding blood vessels and increasing blood flow.
On the other hand, if you deal with a high level of stress on a daily basis or suffer from chronic pain or migraines, you’ll benefit from more frequent massage therapy treatments. Depending on the acuteness of your condition and symptoms you may want to start with a massage once or twice a week and reduce massage frequency as your condition improves.
Patients who have suffered a recent injury and are using massage therapy to treat their pain will also want to start with frequent, weekly massage visits and then gradually taper off as the injury begins to heal.
Regardless of how often you choose to go, you should consider the benefits of regular massage therapy to reduce symptoms and improve your overall health. Meadowlands Physiotherapy has a team of registered massage therapists in Ancaster who can help you decide on your massage therapy options and what may be best for your health.
Contact us today to book your massage.
Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years, but it didn’t become part of western medicine until the latter half of the 20th century. Today acupuncture is a common and effective therapy for a range of physical symptoms.
To understand the physical benefits of acupuncture you first need to understand how acupuncture works. Some misconceptions persist that suggest that acupuncture is a purely psychological treatment. While acupuncture does offer some psychological benefits, there is a very real physiological basis for the treatment.
Traditional acupuncture practitioners suggest that the procedure restores the flow of Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) in the body. We’ll focus instead, however on the scientifically proven benefits of acupuncture.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into the patient’s body. The needles do not hurt but do stimulate nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue. This stimulation triggers the body to release endorphins (pain alleviating chemicals produced naturally by the body) which can also have an anti-inflammatory effect. Acupuncture may also stimulate blood flow.
What are the physical benefits of acupuncture?
According to the World Health Organisation acupuncture is an effective treatment for nearly 30 conditions, including:
Despite its long history acupuncture is only now being studied in depth by Western doctors and researchers. So while acupuncture’s ability to alleviate muscle and joint pain is well documented, it is also claimed, but not proven to have a positive impact on treating:
In 2009, the US Army introduced ‘Battlefield acupuncture’ to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan in order to try to reduce reliance on powerful pain killers prescribed to injured soldiers while in combat.
How safe is acupuncture?
Using acupuncture to alleviate physical pain allows doctors and patients to use less of the powerful painkillers and anesthetics that can be so problematic on a long term basis. Unlike these harsh drugs there is no long term dangerous side effects or risk of addiction from acupuncture.
Acupuncture is not a substitute for mainstream treatment but a complimentary procedure that helps many patients.
Acupuncture from a qualified and licensed practitioner is very safe. Some people may experience short term dizziness or drowsiness but it is not common and only temporary. All equipment is sterilized, and the needles are thrown out and replaced after each session so the risk from infection is low. Acupuncture in Ontario is regulated by the Ontario government.
How does the procedure work?
After taking into account your medical history, your practitioner will ask you to sit or lie down and will then begin carefully inserting the disposable, sterilised acupuncture needles. Once the needles are in place they may be left in for 10 minutes or longer. You will likely feel a tingling or dull ache, if you feel a sharper pain, let your acupuncturist know right away.
Depending on your condition you may experience either immediate relief or it could take a number of sessions before you feel the benefits of acupuncture. Weighing the benefits of acupuncture? Talk to one of our licensed acupuncture practitioners to learn more.