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How can Pilates exercises help people with cancer?

People who are diagnosed with cancer often describe feeling scared, anxious, and completely overwhelmed. There is no doubt that individuals will face their own set of unique challenges however, many choose to be pro-active in their treatment.

Research carried out by The National Cancer Institute consistently reports that exercise in general is found to be beneficial to people with cancer both before treatment, during treatment, and also in recovery. It is however important to find the balance as many forms of exercise can be too strenuous for those suffering from fatigue, muscle weakness or recovering from surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Pilates effectively supports with many of the challenges that cancer patients face, both physical and mental. Pilates is low impact and the gentle exercises can be easily modified to suit all needs and all abilities. Furthermore, individuals can choose to adapt the exercises from day to day depending on how they feel.

Benefits of practicing Pilates are as follows:

  • Lowering the impact of physical side effects such as nausea, muscle weakness, lymphodoema, osteoporosis, and neuropathy.
  • Improved balance which helps to reduce the risk of falls and subsequent injuries.
  • Increased flexibility.
  • Improved mobility.
  • Prevention of muscle loss.
  • Making your treatment more effective at destroying tumour cells.
  • Prevention of weight gain which can be caused by both drugs and limited mobility.

In addition to the physical benefits, Pilates is also proven to be effective in supporting your mental health and well-being. The exercises encourage you to focus on you.  Deep breathing is a fundamental element of Pilates and this helps you to increase oxygen levels in the blood which in turn helps to improve healing.  Not only that, the repetitive practice also helps you to feel calm and relaxed helping you to achieve a positive state of mind. Pilates stretches before bed can also support in achieving a better night’s sleep, making you feel more refreshed and energised.

A Pilates based recovery programme has the ability to help you regain confidence, increase your energy level and help you look positively about your treatment and your future.

Remember that it is important that you exercise in a safe environment if you have a weakened immune system due to treatment. Pilates Scotland on demand classes can be practiced in the safety of your own home, at any time and at your own pace. Keep well hydrated during exercise, be aware of what stage you are at in your treatment and adjust your exercises accordingly. Listen to your body and most importantly, enjoy!

Pilates Scotland instructor, Anna Baker, is qualified in CanRehab (Level 4 exercise programme for patients with cancer). During Anna’s on demand classes she offers members tips and advice on exercise before, during and after treatment.  Anna is passionate about CanRehab and she is keen to pass on her knowledge to help as many people as possible. Her mantra is that her exercise will energise you, not exhaust you. Anna can be contacted at [email protected] should you have any questions about her classes. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Pilates Scotland are firm believers in healthy mind, healthy body and alongside Anna, we sincerely hope that our CanRehab Pilates classes will help to support you throughout and after your treatment.

To sample our classes and to experience the benefits for yourself, start our 14 day free trial by clicking here.

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