Redbourn Physiotherapy offer a wide range of classes in all forms of low impact activities.
Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are excellent low-impact activities that provide substantial health benefits. They primarily focus on improving balance, flexibility and core strength; however, are also known to boost mental health and wellbeing. A good instructor can adapt these exercises and as a result make them accessible to all, irrespective of age or ability level.
Evidence suggests that these low impact activities can be beneficial if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, muscular dysfunction, joint complaints such as arthritis, neurological disorders or are at risk of falls.
Furthermore, mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress can also benefit from these forms of activity.
Yoga: is an ancient form of exercise that is largely based around performing different postures called asanas, connected by flowing sequences called vinyasas, sometimes accompanied by rhythmic breathing and often ending with relaxation.
Yoga is truly a mind and body exercise, it has been shown to improved strength, flexibility and balance. In addition, it has a strong focus on breathing, which is proven to improve mental health and wellbeing.
There are various types of yoga: Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Vinyasa (flow) or Power to name but a few.
Pilates: was initially developed by Joseph Pilates, who during World War 1, was interned as a prisoner of war. During this time he worked as a hospital orderly, and developed highly successful exercise regimens for patients. After the war he moved to New York where he opened ‘The Pilates Studio’, which quickly became world famous amongst ballerinas such as Martha Graham. Since his death in 1967, Pilates as a form of exercise has continued to thrive and evolve worldwide.
Pilates today can be either be based on a mat or reformer (resistance bed), and uses body weight or small equipment such as resistance bands or exercise balls. It aims to strengthen your body overall with the emphasis being on improving core strength and stability, whilst performing movements from a stable base. The health benefits of Pilates include improved posture, muscle toning and better balance and mobility. Evidence also suggests that Pilates can be beneficial if you suffer from back pain.
Tai Chi: was originally created as a form of martial art. The essential principles of Tai Chi include the integration of the mind with the body; control of movements and breathing; the generation of internal energy and mindfulness. The ultimate purpose of Tai Chi is to cultivate the life energy (qi) within us to flow smoothly and powerfully throughout the body. There are various styles of Tai Chi which differ in speed and the poses you are required to hold.
While you can do most Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi exercises at home yourself, with the help of an app, You Tube, book or DVD, it is advised that you start by going to a class and learn with a fully qualified instructor.
Since anyone can set up Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi classes please ensure you check your instructors level of qualification prior to commencing a class. Whilst classes held in established gyms and recreational centres generally require their instructors to be qualified to a certain level, plenty of other well organised classes can be found running out of village and church halls.
A good instructor will always request you fill in a pre-participation health screen, in order that they are able to take into consideration any health conditions and adapt exercises to your individual need. They will also be able to signpost you to the most appropriate class to get you started.
An instructor led class will be able to correct any mistakes you may make, and advise on stretches, poses and manoeuvres best suited for you. In turn, this will reduce the chance of strain or injuries compared to practicing by yourself, and enable you to get the most out of the activity.
As for equipment, you will need comfortable clothing which allows you to move and stretch freely. You may also need a mat, as some classes require you to bring your own.
Redbourn has several classes and practitioners. To discover the right exercise type for you, speak to a local instructor and find a class that suits your individual need and goal.
Spinal specialist physiotherapist and Pilates instructor, offering group and 1:1 classes.
A) Pilates for low back pain class 7:30-8:30pm Wednesday evenings
B) Pilates for runners class 8:30-9:30pm Wednesday evenings.
Iyengar Yoga focuses on alignment, strength, flexibility and body-mind connections
Lauren Heinz-Roe is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher with a decade of yoga experienceI