Medical Pilates

WFLD Fox News—CHICAGO—June 3, 2007

The medical benefits of Pilates stretch far beyond the gym.

Opera singer Jessica Gould can reach the high notes, but recently she hit a low. “I had surgery on Jan. 30th for a torn ACL,” says Gould. “This is part of my recuperation.”

Barbara Gendler is also recovering from a compound fracture in her ankle. “I couldn’t walk when I came in, and now I’m walking and doing pretty good,” says Gendler.

Along with physical therapy, both women are taking a Pilates class at the Integrative Care Center of Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

“Most of our clientele here our coming directly from rehab,” says Sarah Faller, a certified Pilates trainer at the hospital. Faller is teaching the women some of the basics, which build the body’s core stability. Athletic trainers say these exercises also improve coordination and flexibility.  Since these movements are done sitting or lying down, doctors say it takes pressure off the joints.

“[For] people who are having a lot of joint pain, it’s a good way for them to strengthen the joint; it’s a good way for them to maintain mobility in that joint,” says Jennifer Solomon, M.D., assistant attending physiatrist at Hospital for Special Surgery.

While the muscles do work hard, the body only burns a small amount of calories during the workout. “There is little cardiovascular effect with Pilates but overall what you’re looking at is strengthening the musculoskeletal system,” says Dr. Solomon.

Doctors say it is still important to get in regular cardio workouts along with your Pilates practice.

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