Practising Pilates - Diabetes WA
 In Blog, Health, Healthy Hints and Hacks, Lifestyle

Pilates practitioner Jodie Tapper. Picture: Emma Pointon.

From strengthening your core and realigning your posture to bringing a sense of calm, performing Pilates on a regular basis has many health benefits, finds Vanessa Williams.
“Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.”
So says Joseph Pilates, the German physical trainer who developed the hugely popular Pilates method more than a century ago.
Since its inception all those years ago, it seems millions of people around the globe have reaped the health benefits of the Pilates movement, with those who made it a regular part of their routine lives swearing it has changed their lives for the better.
Among those to sing its praises is Jodie Tapper, Pilates instructor and founder of Vital Wellness Pilates based in the southeastern Perth suburb of Harrisdale.
Ms Tapper turned to Pilates more than a decade ago in a bid to improve her health and previous injuries she had acquired.
“I worked full-time in a desk job and even with a healthy diet and regular exercise my body could not keep up,” she explains. “I suffered from constant back pain, headaches, stress and computer-related injuries. I tried everything and it was Pilates that truly saved me.”
After launching her own Pilates and Yoga studio, Vital Wellness Pilates, in 2016, Ms Tapper realised that many of her clients had been experiencing similar aches and pains from working in a desk job.
“What I know to be true, from my own painful experience but also from my expertise as a Pilates Practitioner, is that we all need very specific movement, strengthening and stretching to combat the negative effects of desk work on our physical body and mental health. Pilates offers us that,” she says.
“Most stressors on our body come from poor posture, imbalances in the body and lack of correct breathing.
From my own experience as a Pilates Practitioner, every new client I teach, who is suffering from an injury, mental health or stress, the first thing I teach them is how to breathe. It’s incredible to see the change in a person when they begin to reconnect to their body through something as simple as correct breathing.
“I see clients improve overall strength, flexibility and postural improvements. Clients who are injured return to good health, clients who have stress and anxiety challenges improve their mental health.
“They are happier because their body feels better which in turn has compounding effects on their posture, their confidence and their inner happiness.”
For people living with diabetes, regular exercise has many benefits – from helping insulin to work more efficiently and assisting with blood glucose management, to lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and maintaining a healthy weight.
But when it comes to overall health and wellbeing, the benefits of Pilates are endless.
Not only can regular practise improve balance and poor posture, build a stronger core and promote better alignment to reduce the risk of pain, tension and discomfort in the body, but Ms Tapper says regular sessions can also improve awareness of the mind and body.
“The most rewarding benefit that I see, are clients that build body and mind awareness,” she says.
“This allows them to understand their own bodies personal intricacies so they can implement the learnings that the Pilates method offers into their day to day life, making them a happier and healthier individual.
For older people who are looking for an effective yet low-impact exercise, Ms Tapper says Pilates is a great option as it can help build bone density.
“Through specific weight bearing exercises and odd movement practice, bone density can be increased,” she says.
“In the ageing population strong bones can reduce the risk of bone fractures and prevent falls.”
So how often should we be practising Pilates to reap all the health benefits?
“In general, fitness recommendations are two to three times per week,” Ms Tapper says.
“In my opinion, it is personal depending on what your body needs and your own unique situation.
“I practice either Pilates or Yoga daily ranging from 10 minutes to 50 minutes depending on how I am feeling in my body and what my schedule is. The most important key to attaining your fitness goals is to learn to listen to your body. Some days that means rest and it is important to honour that.”
That said, Ms Tapper encourages kickstarting your morning with slow, gentle movements and stretches that draw from the Pilates technique.
“First thing in the morning I recommend gentle movement then stretches,” she says.
“Gentle movement ensures that the body is warm prior to stretching your body.”
Morning movements to kickstart your day include the standing spine twist, standing lateral bend, standing supported extension and the classic yoga/Pilates move, the cat stretch.
“In general, to improve any aspect of our health and fitness, what we put in is what we get out,” Ms Tapper says.
“Commitment and discipline to a regular practice is key because it builds healthy daily habits which create a long-term healthy lifestyle.”
If you’re new to Pilates, always check with your GP before undertaking any new exercise routines. To find out more about Vital Wellness Pilates group classes and one-on-one private sessions, visit vitalwellnesspilates.com.au.

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