How often should you do Pilates for lower back pain?

Getting into a routine of regular exercise will help you feel so much better!  One of my favourite phrases is “Movement is medicine!”  And, as a physio and Pilates instructor, I’m a huge advocate for Pilates – I’ve seen how much it has benefited thousands of my clients!  But how often should you do Pilates for lower back pain?  Is there an optimal amount?

how often should you do Pilates for lower back pain?
how often should you do Pilates for lower back pain?

How often should you do Pilates as a beginner?

If you’ve never done Pilates before, you might be wondering what it involves, and what the benefits are.  Pilates is a matwork based exercise class consisting of low impact strengthening and stretching exercises.  It was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s. He originally used his exercises to rehabilitate injured war soldiers.

As a newbie to any exercise, it’s likely you might notice your muscles aching after your first few sessions.  If you notice this, do not worry, it’s completely normal!  In fact, it’s a good thing!  It shows you’ve worked your body hard enough for it to have to adapt to the changes you are making to improve your strength and flexibility.

Therefore, when you start as a beginner, if you do notice that you ache after the session, I’d advise taking 2 days off in between each class initially. This will let your body get used to the exercises, and recover from each session.  However, if you’re not aching, you can do Pilates as often as you like!  It’s a form of exercise that is kind to your body!

Is Pilates beneficial for lower back pain?

The short answer is yes!  As a physiotherapist, I’ve helped thousands of clients use Pilates exercise to manage their back pain.  And the beauty of Pilates is that if you’re short of time, fitting in a shorter session will still give you some benefit!

The type of Pilates I teach, APPI Pilates, is an adapted version of the classical Pilates that Joseph Pilates created.  This means there are different levels to the exercises, and exercises can be easily adapted to account for any injuries.  That’s why Pilates is such a good adjunct to my work as a physiotherapist!

How often should you do Pilates long-term?

I have clients who attend my classes as often as 6 days each week, but it’s very normal for most people to attend 1-2 times weekly.  I would say once a week will maintain your strength and flexibility.  Whereas if you can attend twice a week or more, then you will see a much greater improvement, much more quickly.  As with any exercise, I’d advise sticking with it for 6-12 weeks initially to really get an idea of the benefits and changes to your body.  Our bodies take a little time to adapt!

Do you have any suggestions on getting started with Pilates?

I do!  I have a gentle stretch Pilates routine on YouTube, which you can have a go of by clicking here.  I’m also running a FREE Kickstart Your January Pilates challenge starting on Monday 10th January 2022.  The Pilates sessions will be live streamed into an exclusive Facebook group. If you live local to me in Billericay, Essex, you’re also welcome to join me in the studio for any of the classes.  The whole challenge is completely free, and you can find out more by clicking here.

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