About us News The Benefits of Pilates During Cancer Treatment Hear from Laura Porro, Cancer Exercise Specialist and Pilates Teacher from Equilibrium Studio, about the benefits of pilates during cancer treatment. Research shows that regular and appropriate physical exercise leads to numerous health benefits. Specifically for people who have a cancer diagnosis, exercising: reduces the side effects of cancer treatment; makes you feel less tired; strengthens your immune system; reduces pain; makes you sleep and feel better; and prevents future cancers and other conditions that make it easier for cancer to arise. So there is no question that exercising is beneficial, but why would you choose Pilates as your workout?Pilates is a system of training for your body and mind, based on principles created by Joseph Pilates. You can practice Pilates using your own body, small props (such as bands, balls and weights) and larger equipment, such as the Reformer.What is different about Pilates?Let me tell you a little bit about your muscles. There are two layers of muscles in the body: Superficial - They are big and strong, for instance in your thigh (the quadriceps) or in the arm (the biceps). You use superficial muscles when you make big movements or need a lot of strength. Deep - They are small and connect the bones in the joints. You might not feel them, but the deep muscles are essential to all movements, alignment and balance. Because we are less aware of the deep muscles, it is easier to just use the superficial ones all the time, but this can lead to an imbalance: the superficial muscles work too much, while the deep muscles get weaker. This can lead to pain or even injuries.Pilates exercises train both layers of muscles, with a specific focus on activating the deep ones: since you are not used to feeling them, it takes focus and concentration to develop that awareness. Pilates then teaches you to control your movements, so you activate deep and superficial muscles correctly. This is why you hear people say they feel a sense of connection between their mind and body when they do Pilates - because you need to think about what you are doing!How does this help after a cancer diagnosis? Cancer treatment can get in the way of enjoying the things you want to do, such as going out with friends, playing with your children or working. Sometimes you get side effects or feel tired. Pilates can help you with all this: Energy. Your cancer exercise specialist can easily adjust the intensity level of the session, depending on your energy levels and what you enjoy. The resistance props used in Pilates (bands, circles, springs) adapt to your body and respond to your actions, so you can work to your best level every time. Mind. A key component of the Pilates practice is the focus on breathing: cancer does not just have a negative impact on your physical body, but is also a stressful and challenging experience for your mental wellbeing. Pilates improves your level of awareness and control of your breath, so when you feel anxious or nervous you can avoid panic and bring yourself back to a more calm state. Control. Cancer changes your body and your relationship with it, but Pilates will: Make you understand how your muscles have been impacted by the illness and treatment. Make you aware of how your whole body moves, so you can use it all to overcome a weakness or pain in one part. Restore a positive connection with your body. A Pilates session with a qualified specialist can lead to a deeply satisfying workout, which will leave you feeling stronger, more flexible and at ease in your body. For more information and to book your free space for our online Pilates classes click here.