Tue 25th Jan: Can Exercise Help Me Beat Stress ?

Can Exercise Help Me Beat Stress ?

I was talking to a friend over the weekend, a full on high powered business woman, who works hard and works out hard.

Six months ago she was having problems. She was stressed at work, never enough hours in the day, always deadlines to meet, changes to implement etc.

She exercised religiously 5 days a week, a full session at the gym involving running and weights, however, she was finding it harder and harder to do her gruelling workout because of niggling back pains, together with pains in her shoulders and hips.

I suggested she came to see me for an assessment at my Pilates studio. I took a detailed history of her symptoms and past medical history as well as information about her daily activity levels, positions at work, amount of desk based and driving activity.

She hadn’t done any Pilates before so I asked her to be open to changes it required and just absorb what we would do in the hour, don’t question until the end of the session.

She focused her mind on her body as I guided her through the Pilates principles and techniques one by one.

Initially there was a lot of fidgeting and sighing from my stressed out friend, who wanted to be worked harder. However as the hour progressed, it slowly dawned on her that I was asking her to work very hard indeed.

To try to focus and listen to her own body: be aware of her areas of muscular tension; to practise breathing deeply; to feel the movement and stability of her pelvis and spine; to concentrate on a gentle supporting action of her pelvic floor and lower abdominal wall and to take all this into flowing natural movement patterns.

At the end of the hour she was mentally and physically tired, a good natural tiredness her body had only been feeling when she was on her holidays!

She has carried on with her once a week Pilates class and also uses the ipilates workouts from www.ipilates.co.uk on her ipod at the gym after her cardio-vascular workout.

Talking to her at the weekend it was great to have my old friend back. She is enjoying the daily challenges of her work, loving how strong and balanced her body now feels and is overjoyed to cope with her stress by tapping into that “Holiday feeling” with Pilates.