Marion Marples

Pilates: it’s all in the spine

I have recently benefitted from a course of NHS physiotherapy to relieve a painful hip which made even walking to the shop very painful and made me feel mentally twenty years older.

Talking to many people about this problem I feel I have discovered a hidden epidemic. People of a certain age are all suffering mobility issues and everyone you look at is hobbling down the road.

So I was glad to be able to experience a Pilates class with Alessandra Margarito in SE1 to learn more about my body and give me a greater repertoire of techniques to help me through the discomfort of my current situation.

Ideally one signs up for 4 to 6 lessons to learn the basic techniques – it's hard to remember to make all the small muscular movements and, importantly, to breathe at the same time. But in my taster session I soon began to be aware of bits of my frame that I had never really thought about before. I had to 'unpeel my spine' from the wall and learn to 'flex my abs'. Alessandra has a fantastically supple body and she demonstrates each movement for you.

My body soon began to demonstrate some signs of distress – the wrong muscles kicking in to support my hip for instance. Alessandra helped me to use the correct muscles. At the end of the session I felt small inward glows around my muscles and although the exercise had not been aerobic I was re-energised.

Alessandra works with all kinds of people, some of whom have developed postural difficulties or back pain through their daily activities. My recent difficulties have made me aware that it is important to keep your body in good condition – it won't necessarily give you the same mobility for ever.

Lessons cost 10 for a 75-minute session in small classes of 4-6 people; daytime or evenings available. Phone Alessandra on 07958 412 386 to discuss possibilities.

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