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Rehab Pilates - For the better!

Woman doing pilates exercise at home

Rehab Pilates - For the better!

For those who are struggling with injury, pain and inactivity you can be faced with chronic discomfort, mental stress, and physical limitations that reduce your quality of life. Regular exercise has a proven ability to enhance both physical and mental well-being, but how do you get started or keep going when injury, pain, and lack of direction result in waning motivation?  One particularly beneficial form of exercise that is often used for rehabilitative purposes is Pilates. This type of exercise helps improve:

  • Stability
  • Mobility
  • Flexibility
  • Muscle tone
  • Core strength
  • Stress resistance
  • Weight management
  • Cardiovascular function

Pilates also focuses on enhancing balance, posture, and spinal alignment, which are features that make this training approach especially useful for those who want to heighten their range of motion. Pilates has been compared to more conventional workout approaches and for many individuals, it is more effective than other training techniques at improving overall function, strength, flexibility, and balance for individuals of all ages, including older adults. These properties also make Pilates an ideal management option for physiotherapy programs.

Pilates in Physiotherapy

One of the main purposes of physiotherapy is to help you carefully carry out everyday movements such as standing, sitting, bending, lifting, and walking without pain or injury. If these types of activities are not executed properly, they can increase the risk of injury or make an ongoing condition worse. Pilates exercises are carried out in the presence of an advanced physiotherapist who can demonstrate the proper technique and help you move better.  Pilates based rehab helps you gain a better range of motion, build stronger muscles, and execute more fluid movements with exercises that can be done in the clinic and at home . If you have been living with, or recently diagnosed with, an underlying health condition such as arthritis, osteoporosis, MS, breast cancer, sports injury, disc injury etc. then Pilates is safe, clinically effective, and is suitable for long-term exercise routines.  We can also get you moving quickly and safely post-operatively to speed recovery.

Rehab Pilates typically involves 30 to 45-minute sessions, 3 times a week for about 6-8 weeks guided by a physiotherapist. The Pilates routine may entail core strengthening techniques, flexibility exercises, and guided lumbopelvic stability movements. Before a Rehab Pilates program is recommended, your physiotherapist will first conduct a thorough assessment of your fundamental movement patterns to identify range of motion limitations and potential muscle imbalances. That way your Physio can design a Rehab Pilates program that is tailored to your needs. Rehab Pilates exercise programs have been shown to significantly improve functional movement, range of motion, and pain levels.

As you begin to make progress, your physiotherapist may decide to make the workout a little more challenging by incorporating Pilates equipment such as rings, bands, balls, and reformers for a more resistance-based regimen. These types of techniques involve low impact exercises that are slowly executed at an intensity that gradually builds lean muscle. This not only enables recovery, but helps your improve your overall body composition.

In addition to supporting physical health and fitness by improving muscle and joint function, Rehab Pilates workouts enhance organ and bone health. More specifically, Rehab Pilates helps increase lung capacity and bone density, both of which are especially important now. Pilates incorporates set breathing patterns that have been proven to increase respiratory muscle strength and physical endurance. However, there are several key principles to follow to experience these types of long-term improvements:


Inhaling deeply provides the brain and body with oxygen. It also clears the lungs, relaxes the body, and makes it easier to stay focused. Therefore, breathing patterns should be coordinated with Pilates movements.


It is important to pay close attention to the starting position and slowly begin to execute smooth movements with each part of the body. Staying focused and avoiding distractions also supports proper form.


Pilates exercises need to be executed with full control of the muscles. A physiotherapist can demonstrate safe movements that protect muscles from injury or further damage.


Pilates exercises have to be done in a precise manner in order to benefit from them. Accordingly, guided Pilates exercises in therapy settings are optimal for individuals who need rehabilitative services.


Pilates movements all start from centered positions by engaging core muscles such as those which are deep within the diaphragm, abdomen, lower back, pelvic floor, and the glutes. Centering is also the key to improving posture and balance, with one of the primary goals of Pilates being to strengthen and promote core stabilization.

We realize that your mental health can be affected by the stress associated with chronic pain and mobility issues and this can have a negative impact on all aspects of your life. Stress and disturbed sleep can also influence your “get up and go” leaving you feeling apprehensive and lacking motivation to exercise.  We see so many patients that are surprised with Rehab Pilates because it can profoundly improve not just their physical health, but can result in:

  • Reduced stress
  • A more positive mindset
  • Heightened mental health
  • Increased coping abilities
  • Positive changes in personal exercise beliefs

Pilates is increasing in popularity all over the world across so many platforms from studio and virtual classes, to Rehab pilates in the clinic and at home.  Joseph Pilates first introduced his system of Pilates exercises to strengthen the mind, body, and spirit of soldiers injured in the first world war.  Today our Physiotherapists can use Rehab Pilates as part of a movement based approach to  treatment.  With guidance, Rehab Pilates can easily be incorporated into a daily routine, resulting in increased mobility, an improved quality of life, and longevity, and for better physical and mental health.  If you’d like to know more please reach out to one of our crew!

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