Positive feedback to end the week….

This feedback was from a lady I had a one to one session with just 1 week ago. Her job involves driving for 7 hours , 5 days a week. She has a long history of sciatic pain and has been relying on pain killers to get through her day. I prescribed for her a 10 minute set of exercises to do twice a day:

“Hi Dawn, I’m feeling a big improvement since our session last week. I find I’m moving much better and only taking painkillers occasionally now. I have to admit to only doing the exercises once a day yet still much improvement. I thought of giving it another week and then joining your class, what do you think?”

I think that’s a great result and the reason I love my work.

Happy Friday folks!

Is it enjoyable?

So it’s that time of year when there’s plenty to do in the garden, pruning, weeding, deadheading, harvesting, watering….etc! As someone who used to garden for a living, I know how easy it can be to get carried away….”I’ll just finish cutting that hedge/ digging that plot, mowing the lawn..!” There’s always something! And it’s not just gardening that we sacrifice pleasure for our to-do lists!

This week a number of my class members were suffering aches and pains from over doing it and it reminded me of what I learned,the hard way (herniated disc) about gardening , and life in general which is:

1. It should be enjoyable, if it’s not something needs to change!

2. Listen to your body before it has to SHOUT to be heard!

3. When something feels like a struggle, ponder the question “why am I doing it?” “Is it worth it?” “What are my other options”?

Have a great weekend folks and take time to smell the roses.

Dawn x


On a roll this week..

foam rollers

Get ready for the foam rollers in class this week….great for challenging balance, improving thoracic spine extension, shoulder  mobility and massaging those tight quads!

If you have your own roller, there will be an exercise sheet to remind you of what we do so you can practice at home or at the gym.

Get ready to ROLL….

Osteoporosis…why wait for a fall?

Osteoporosis, or low bone density, affects 1 in 3 women over 50. Men get it too although the ratio is higher. Most people only find out once they’ve broken a bone… a bit late really! The DEXA scan , which measures bone mineral density, is painless and takes about 5 minutes.  You’re given a ‘T’ score – anything above -1 is normal, between -1 and -2.5 is defined as osteopenia , and below -2.5 is osteoporosis. YOU CAN ASK YOUR DOCTOR FOR A SCAN.  There is a request form you can take to your doctor. Last year I made these forms available to my class members. Here is an email from one of my ladies ,Sarah , who took action:

” Just thought I’d let you know that I had the results of my DEXA scan today and the density isn’t good – osteopenic and I’m to have another scan in 3 years time. Obviously with my mother having severe osteoporosis, it isn’t a surprise but it shows the importance of good diet and exercise.  Thank you for furnishing the questionnaires at class. I am certain I would have eventually  gone to the doctors but would have probably left it for another 5 years (when I was 60) – so to be informed at this stage is amazing. Please, please encourage  other people to get checked out, especially if there’s a  history of the problem”.   Sarah Westaby.

My thanks to Sarah for giving permission to share her experience. She has the choice now to do something about it, possibly avoiding the need for medication in the future and reducing her chances of fractures. Great!    The form and leaflets will be available to my classes again next week , also ,check out the National Osteoporosis Society, website. Why wait for a fall?

Pilates Presentation

I gave my first presentation on Pilates today, to a lovely group of ladies from the ‘Inner Wheel’. It comprised of a slide show, showing the life of Joseph Pilates, the German inventor of pilates, born in 1883, through to modern day pictures of my classes, breaking in between for a short practical session in standing balance work.

The presentation was well received, I had some very positive feedback and the projector performed beautifully on its first outing!

If anyone is looking for a speaker for their club/group or event, I’d be happy to do it again!


We’re not falling for that!!

So we’re half way through January, we had some snow and ice last week and there may be more making pavements slippy… Every day on the news we’re hearing about the NHS struggling under pressure to meet our ever increasing demands and our A&E departments doing their best under difficult conditions…. It seems more important than ever  to do what we can to take care of ourselves! To take responsibility for our own well being, in ALL areas of our lives:- reducing stress levels, exercising more, healthy eating….and so on.

I know that I share this outlook with all my class members, and private clients, who include pilates in their week and I feel like we’re really doing our bit to look after our bodies and lessen the reliance on our health services. It’s brilliant and I’m proud to be a part of it.

  • Given that A & E may be a place we want to avoid right now, and that the most common reason for older adults to go to A&E is due to falling…guess what we’re doing  in classes this week – yep standing BALANCE WORK, and lots of it!

Good balance requires different systems of the body to work in harmony – try standing on one leg and turning your head one way and then the other…..is one way wobblier than the other? The inner ear (vestibular system) is responsible for giving feed back to the brain when we change head position and it’s a mechanism that can deteriorate with age but improves with practice.

Proprioception is important for staying on our feet – “it’s the ability to know where your body is in space”. It’s how we know how high to lift our foot when going up stairs, with out looking down at our feet. Pretty important, if we want to avoid tripping! Pilates helps develop this ability through controlled, precise movements.

And muscular strength of legs and buttocks needed to take our weight when standing on one leg – Pilates tones those muscles needed to support us. And yes CORE Strength which we improve every time we challenge our balance – it’s not all about curl ups!

Here’s another balance exercise to try – stand as if you’re on a tight rope, one foot in front of the other (heel to toe), close your eyes and count how many seconds you can hold the position for. Now swap with the other foot in front..repeat and compare sides…is there a difference?

These balance exercises and more will be added to an exercise sheet at the the end of the week, for those who’ve told me they want to practice at home..or in the post office queue…or whilst waiting for a bus/ plane…you get the idea!

Some more facts to ponder…..

  • 7000 people die every year in the UK from a fractured hip following a fall.
  • Specific exercise Programmes can reduce the risk of falls by an estimated 55% .
  • Falls cost the NHS £6m PER DAY.
  • Falls destroy confidence, increase isolation, and reduce independence, at any age!
  • Balance can be improved with practice.

So let’s stay balanced folks!

New class starting in 2017!

I’m excited to say a New Pilates Class is starting at  beautiful GRANGE COURT, Leominster from Thursday January 19th    10.30-11.30 . Suitable for beginners. Cost is £6 per class and the first class includes a free tea/coffee! Places are limited to 12, so get in touch if you’d like to book a place. Tel 01568 615239 email dawn.arkell@virgin.net