In the digital age, the amount of information at our fingertips is truly staggering. A simple Google search can unearth a level of detail on nearly any subject that was once confined to academia, and no subjects seem to be represented as extensively as health and fitness. Diet tips, training programmes, supplement advice and exercise tips are strewn across the internet, underlying a global digital health market worth in excess of $42 billion per year.
Selling you short
This overload of information is a double-edged sword; on one hand it can provide motivation and guidance to those wanting to improve their health. On the other hand, so much of the information is misguided at best and irresponsible at worst. So much of the information is backed up by no scientific studies with only occasional anecdotal evidence presented as proof. The desire for a quick fix or miracle formula has driven much of the information and sent the unscrupulous side of the industry into a spiral of ever-greater outlandish claims. With so much money in the industry, some of these snake oil salesmen have become very slick with big marketing departments at their disposal. No matter how convincing they may seem, it’s still snake oil they are peddling. There are no quick fixes, no short cuts to health and fitness but there are tried and tested choices backed by scientific studies.
The real deal
Pilates provides many of the benefits that others desperately try to claim. Improving body strength, flexibility, posture, muscle tone, and balance and joint mobility. Relieving tension and helping to reduce the risk of injury. A 2009 study at the University of Miami provided startling results of the effect of Pilates. 9 subjects with no prior Pilates experience were enrolled on a traditional 8-week Pilates course. At the conclusion of the 8-week course, both greater flexibility and body fat loss was observed across the group. With an average of 1.2% loss in body fat, a reduction in waist circumference of 2.7cm and in chest circumference of 1.7cm.
Pilates benefits are also cumulative, providing benefits into later life. A 2014 study at the University of Tasmania saw huge benefits to the elderly community who were considered fall risks. A 5-week Pilates course saw the thirty test subject, all over 65, improve on both balance and strength significantly reducing incidences of falls. The improvements were still evident 12 months after the course amongst the test subjects and subjects who continued with Pilates after the initial 5-week course continued to display improvement in both strength and balance.
Now after providing some science, we can afford some anecdotal evidence. The Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs spent the early and mid part of his career beset with hamstring injuries. As he approached 30 he was advised, along with his teammates of a similar age to swap a couple of training sessions a week for Pilates. Wingers tend not to play too long into their thirties due to the pace and wear and tear on the body after years of sprinting down the touchline and with Giggs history of injuries it seemed unlikely that he would be any different, yet Giggs played his last professional game at 40 – an incredible 23 year career at the very highest level of football which he puts down to taking up Pilates.
At Wolli Creek Physiotherapy & Pilates, you’ll be looked after by highly experienced and passionate young physiotherapists with a range of specialist skills and qualifications. We treat and heal all injuries and pain problems, for all kinds of people.