Pilates – perfect pre-op preparation

I am a massive fan of Pilates.  About 12 years ago, I was fortunate to meet Tanya Loxham who is an amazing, inspirational teacher.  She has an instinctive knack for recommending just the right exercise at the right time.

I started taking classes with Tanya back in the early days when she was teaching from church halls.  Taking three or four classes a week had a wonderful impact on my posture and core strength.  Eventually, I qualified as a Pilates instructor, but had to stop teaching when my hip became too painful.

Now Tanya has a really impressive studio with great facilities and equipment including ten reformer beds.  You can learn more about Tanya and her team and the classes they offer at www.thepilatesandreformeracademy.co.uk

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It is a testament to Tanya’s knowledge and skill that she has many ‘frequent fliers’ like me who have been with her for more than ten years, as well as a steady stream of new students.  Lots of orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists from all over the North West refer their patients to the studio to help them mobilize and recover.

Here is a picture of Tanya with fellow instructor, Stu:

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I have a great group of friends at the studio including lots of people who have had joints replaced and swear by Pilates as part of their routine.  The classes are great fun.  We work hard, we laugh a lot, and the teachers seem to enjoy making us suffer!

Here is Stu demonstrating a hip and bum strengthening exercise that is really difficult but effective:

Image I have continued to take reformer classes despite the deterioration of my hip.  I find that exercising really helps me manage my pain.  I am hoping that continuing to strengthen the muscles around my hip now will help me recover after my surgery.

I have found that as my arthritis has become more severe, my range of movement has lessened and my balance has got worse.  About nine months ago, a physio measured my legs and my bad leg was ½ inch shorter than my good leg.  If, like me, you are only 5 ft tall, that makes a big difference!

There are some movements I simply cannot do any more.  One-legged squats on my bad leg set off a cacophony of hip cracking that is really painful as well as massively off-putting for my fellow students.  All the teachers at the studio are great at giving me alternative exercises I can do to accommodate my noisy and complaining hip.

I’m determined to keep exercising up until my surgery and to get back to the studio as soon as I’m allowed.

Ah, the good old arabesque.  Sadly, my version doesn’t look anything like Stu’s.  Maybe after the new hip is in place!

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