Why Try Pilates? It offers Benefits at all life stages, says Ella Health Coordinator

Dallas Everleth, Ella HealthOne patient wants help to get ready to deliver a baby. Another is looking for ways to improve balance and prevent falls. Yet another wants to build strength and flexibility.

Although they have very different needs, they could all benefit from Pilates, said Dallas Everleth Ella Health’s Education Manager and San Francisco Pilates coordinator.

“What I love about Pilates is that it can be adapted to meet the needs of women at any stage of life,” she said. “It can be used to improve posture as we age, keep you strong during pregnancy and help you feel like yourself again after having a baby. It is equally helpful for healing after an injury or bringing your fitness to a higher level.”

Pilates is a system of mind-body exercises that can be taught as floor work using a mat or with specialized equipment. It builds strength and flexibility and helps a person to look and feel good by improving alignment, posture and balance. With Pilates, there is a focus on detail – the movements are precise and deliberate. This makes it a powerful system of exercise for people with injuries or other health concerns.

Dallas discovered Pilates early on after she left competitive skating as a teenager. She missed the intensity, focus and discipline that the sport required. Pilate helped take its place. Shortly after trying Pilates, Dallas went through teacher training and started teaching Pilates when she was nineteen.

“I had a lot of questions about the body – how it works, how it heals and how it performs at the highest level and I found the answer in Pilates,” Dallas said.

When not teaching, Dallas, a self-professed anatomy nerd, takes continuing education courses to add to her tools and experience. She recently earned a bachelor’s in psychology and cognitive neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a massage therapist certified in the Hendrickson Method and is studying visceral massage with the Barral Institute.

Recently, Dallas took on the role of managing the Pilates program in San Francisco and developing educational programs for instructors for Ella Health. Her teaching focuses on rehabilitation, and she has helped clients use Pilates to manage a variety of conditions including osteoporosis, spinal injuries, joint replacement, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, scoliosis, chronic pain conditions, and repetitive strain injuries. She loves seeing how Pilates helps new moms feel fit and healthy after delivery and how it can help women come back strong after defeating breast cancer or keeping bones strong after an osteoporosis diagnosis.

Although Pilates has gained in popularity and is available widely across the country, Dallas said she still finds that women have a lot of questions.

What should I expect from my first session?

It’s beneficial to start working one-on-one with a certified instructor who can learn about your fitness goals and any injuries you may have. Your session may include exercises on a mat or a piece of Pilates equipment called the Reformer.  Your instructor will develop exercises based on your goals. You might feel some muscle soreness after your first session or you might not, but don’t worry. Pilates is still working its magic even if you aren’t sore. Some people notice they feel taller. This is due to the strengthening, alignment and flexibility exercises at the core of Pilates.

What is the right class for me?

Once you’ve worked with an instructor and feel comfortable with the equipment and exercises, you may want to try a class. Many people love the camaraderie and motivation of a group class. You instructor can help guide you to a class at the appropriate level.

How long does it take to do Pilates?

A typical session is fifty minutes. My clients see results most quickly when they are doing Pilates two to three times a week.

How does Ella Health approach Pilates?

Pilates is an amazing tool and at Ella Health we are passionate about using it to advance women’s wellness. Our Pilates programming is developed by physical therapists and instructors with more than twenty years of experience teaching Pilates. We understand the needs of women’s bodies at every stage of their life, whether recovering from an injury, getting back to a fitness program after having a baby or re-starting an exercise program after a long break.

Not all of our Pilates clients start as physical therapy patients, but if are coming from physical therapy our integrated approach allows you to move you seamlessly from physical therapy treatments into our specialized wellness classes. Not only do we want you recover quickly from your injury, we want you to be stronger and healthier to avoid getting injured again.

If you’re new to Pilates, we have created programming with the special needs of a first-time Pilates student. You will get the support you need to feel confident while learning the tools that allow you to reach more advanced levels in your practice.

Dallas Everleth provides Pilates instruction and classes at Ella Health, San Francisco. See the schedule and sign up.

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