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Pilates for Cancer Patients and Survivors

  • Posted: Thursday, September 08, 2016

Cancer patients can experience pain, tightness and weakness in their muscles. They generally don't feel strong physically, so it's hard for them to be mentally strong to fight the battle. Unfortunately, the vast majority of cancer patients are uncertain as to what exercise is appropriate.  Many are afraid to move, not fully aware of the limitations of their bodies, and certainly not wanting to trigger more pain.

This is where an experienced Pilates instructor is invaluable. The instructors here at Body Aligned can tailor each Pilates session to give a full-body workout — emphasizing specific areas that need more attention yet taking great care of other areas that may require more gentle treatment.

There’s an understandable fear on the part of many cancer patients that they will not be able to perform exercises properly.  That is the beauty of Pilates.  Every single movement can be modified, depending on each person’s stage of cancer and their physical needs. Plus, to accommodate changing physical limitations, Pilates can also be performed in a variety of positions:  lying on your back, on your stomach, on your side, standing or seated.  Pilates can be tailored to YOUR needs.

Pilates also focuses on deep, multidimensional breathing, which physically encourages lymphatic drainage and emotionally releases tension.  It offers a healing benefit to both the body and mind…at a time in life when both body and mind are being overly taxed.

Utilizing Pilates, the muscles are reminded to perform the movement for which they were designed, and that helps the patient or survivor regain physical strength and emotional confidence. So because Pilates is based on safe and natural movements of the body, it helps to improve and reinforce the overall quality of life of cancer patients and cancer survivors even outside of the studio.

Here are just a few of the benefits of Pilates for both those who are currently in cancer treatment and also recovered patients:

  • Improved muscular strength

  • Better posture

  • Increased range of motion

  • Stronger core 

  • Stronger back (especially important in breast cancer recovery)

  • Increase of flexibility and coordination

  • Better balance

  • Improvement of sensory awareness

  • Better blood flow

  • Energy boost

  • Stress reduction

  • Good transition into lifelong wellness and fitness programs

In the last ten years, we have noticed a greater reception by the medical community considering Pilates as a rehab option. Pilates is increasingly suggested to be the next step after physical therapy to continue building range of motion and strength. That's one of the reasons why the Stanford Cancer Center offers a Pilates class as part of their Cancer Supportive Care Program.

We're here for you.  Take care of your mind and body today, by scheduling an appointment at Body Aligned Pilates and Wellness in South Tampa.  To see current specials and for complete pricing information, click here.

We recommend you first consult with your physician prior to attending a Pilates session. 

-- Thanks to our Guest Blogger, Maria, a Pilates instructor here at Body Aligned.  

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