Let’s face it: your body isn’t what it used to be. As you age, it starts to show signs of wear and tear especially if you’ve experienced pregnancy, childbirth and lugging around toddlers. There’s lower back pain, pelvic instability, neck and shoulder pain, abdominal separation, and of course, the dreaded leaking pelvic floors.
Well, here’s the good news: Pilates is the perfect way to repair and strengthen your body for the future. And what’s more, it’s never too late to start. Many women in their 40s are keen to start exercising. With more time for themselves, their own wellbeing becomes a priority. Pilates is a safe and effective way to get back into exercise and because it’s slow and steady, you might not think you’re experiencing benefits; however, if you stop, you’ll quickly notice the difference.
Also, Pilates helps in other ways. As you approach menopause, it’s important to look after your bones, to reduce your risk of osteoporosis. Bone density increases with strength training, such as Pilates, because you’re stimulating the bones through resistance work.
So, if you’re keen to start Pilates, where should you go? This month, we interviewed our local physio clinic, Renew Physiotherapy in Hawthorn, which has just celebrated its 5th birthday.
Anyone who has stepped through the doors of Renew will vouch for the strong sense of community and family warmth. The owners, Steph and Andrew, are a husband and wife team; Steph’s mum is a friendly face behind the front desk; and her dad’s honey is for sale in the reception area.
Other personal touches include a book swap in the waiting area; and a bowl of homegrown lemons from Steph and Andrew’s backyard tree, with a sign to ‘help yourself’.
The 5th birthday celebration was the perfect time for physiotherapists Andrew and Steph to stop and reflect on the journey so far. They dreamed of starting a clinic that represented everything they loved about their work. They envisaged a happy, relaxed environment, with a like-minded team that got along well and supported one another. And this has certainly been achieved, judging by the big smiles from the loyal staff.
Reassuringly, beneath the smiling faces, there’s also a lot of knowledge and experience. The clinic employs three additional physios (5 including Steph and Andrew) and two myotherapists. Most of the physios have or are currently completing their Masters in Sports Physiotherapy, and the staff are always encouraged to undertake further professional development to ensure they stay up-to-date. Renew Physio also provides Physiotherapy and Myotherapy services to Rowing Australia, Tennis Australia, Hockey Australia and the Victorian Institute of Sport and AFL teams.
Steph and Andrew both emphasised that at Renew, their focus is on treating musculoskeletal conditions, with evidence-based treatments. Where other Pilates studios have adopted more of a wellness clinic with an earthy ‘day-spa’ look, Renew’s look is more ‘clinical’, with a cool blue and white colour scheme and minimalist, functional furniture.
Says Steph: “Our priority is not to have a studio that just looks pretty. People might think we should line the reformers up in nice straight lines so they’re all symmetrical. But everything at Renew is considered. Reformers are set up so that instructors can see each client's movements at a variety of angles and mirrors are positioned so that clients can correct their posture.”
Despite their clinical approach, Renew appeals to a broad demographic, not purely people with serious sports injuries. A quick glance in their Pilates studio reveals a mix of stay-at-home mums, retirees, professional athletes, recreational fitness enthusiasts, children and young adults, and corporates.
Currently, 38 Pilates sessions are scheduled each week, and all sessions are run by fully qualified physiotherapists – which has several advantages. Firstly, you can be guaranteed that your exercises are perfectly suited to your body, reducing the risk of injury.
Secondly, if you’re being treated by a physiotherapist at Renew, there is open communication between the physios, so you can rest assured that your Pilates instructor will be fully informed as to your injuries or requirements. Lastly, you’ll save money, because it’s likely you’ll be covered by your private health insurance.
Each class is capped at 4 participants, enabling your instructor to individualise the exercises so you receive the care you need. Steph points out, “We don’t group people according to their conditions – for example, a post-natal class – because even though they may have similar conditions or injuries, their bodies are all different and they have different needs. Every class is individualised, so if you’re in a class with 3 others, you’ll all be working on different exercises”.
To celebrate their birthday, Renew is offering all sub-urban subscribers an exclusive 15% discount on consultations and treatments, until end September. Plus, they’d like to say a big THANK YOU to both their supportive clients and their loyal staff for their support over the past 5 years. Here’s to many more years in our local community!