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Pilates – flexibility and balance

Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, with a focus on strengthening core muscles, enhancing posture and improving metabolism.



We spoke to Damian Aylward at Bounce Physio about different ways to experience the benefits of pilates.

      1. When did you start teaching pilates?
        • I started teaching in 1998.
      2. What type of people usually come to the classes?
        • All sorts of people from a wide range of age groups attend pilates classes. People looking to improve their general health and fitness, those with pain (particularly back pain) wanting to improve core control and stability and others who want a safe and supervised injury rehabilitation program.
      3. What is the difference between pilates and yoga?
        • Pilates and yoga have a similar focus on postures and breathing to improve the function of the human body.
        • Pilates is a series of exercises that focus predominantly on the abdomen, thighs, legs and back in order to engage deep core muscles that help support the spine and improve posture.
        • Yoga poses, known as asana, have specific physical and mental benefits to improve flexibility and strength, boost vitality, influence the function of the body’s internal organs, improve our capacity to cope with stress and improve mental clarity.
      4. How can Pilates assist seniors?
        • Falls prevention through improved balance, strength and control.
        • Improved flexibility
        • Focussed exercises for any specific aches and pains
        • General health and fitness
        • Great social environment
      5. Do you have to lie on the floor to do Pilates?
        • No. Exercises can be tailored to the individual, such that they can be done sitting and standing – as we do in our classes at Wellington Manor and Cleveland Manor.
      6. What is the difference between mat and equipment classes?
        • Mat pilates is just that – exercises performed on a mat on the floor. You may still use a few small pieces of equipment, but a large number of exercises are completed without any additional equipment.
        • Equipment pilates uses a range of machines (often large) to complete specific pilates exercises. Machine based exercises are a fantastic way to perform a huge variety of exercises that can’t be performed on the floor. The most popular machine is the Reformer, with others including the Cadillac or Trapeze table, Pilates Chair and the Ladder Barrel. Ask your local physio if you are interested in learning more about machine based pilates, and never use the machines unsupervised.
      7. How is physiotherapy and pilates linked?
        • General pilates is a great way to experience the benefits of pilates, and can be taken by a qualified instructor. Clinical pilates can only be taken by a qualified clinical pilates physiotherapist and focuses specifically on an individuals’ pain or injury, with exercises prescribed for their particular circumstances and goals.
      8.  What can a new learner expect on their first visit to a pilates class?
        • At Bounce we have an initial pilates assessment for all newcomers. We discuss any pain or injuries, present or past, what you want to achieve with pilates and how we can get you there. We conduct a comprehensive physical assessment with a focus on correct core stabilisation and activation, as well as finding your neutral spine. These concepts are fundamental to performing pilates, and to ensure we get you doing it properly we use diagnostic ultrasound. We then take you through a few exercises and ensure the correct stabilisation exercises mentioned above are put into practice. Once we are confident you can perform all exercises correctly and safely, we then introduce you into a class.
      9. What kind of clothes and equipment are recommended?
        • Just comfortable or regular gym gear, a towel and a water bottle: no shoes necessary.
      10. How many classes are required before someone will see the benefits?
        • In the words of Joseph Pilates himself, ‘In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 sessions you will see the difference and in 30 sessions you will have a new body!’
      11. What makes Bounce Physio’s Pilates classes unique?
        • At Bounce Physio we are experienced in providing training for all levels, and teaching each exercise safely, accurately and effectively. Our physiotherapy environment means that all instructors have exceptional injury awareness to complement their expertise in movement analysis.
        • Small class sizes as well as supervision, feedback and technique correction are given to ensure successful results.

Bounce Physio of Birkdale regularly holds pilates sessions at Wellington Manor and Cleveland Manor Retirement Villages. Their focus is to provide holistic solutions for current and future health needs of people from all age groups. Their highly successful treatment strategies centre on pain free healthy living. They believe pilates creates a better posture and improves tone, strength, flexibility and balance. However, it is most important that pilates is performed correctly to achieve its full benefits.

Bounce Physio can be contacted by phone (07) 3822 2122 or email

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