On the road again

Heidi Wright shares Pilates exercises to do when you’re feeling energetic.

Not all cancer scenarios end up in peril. Actually, the outcome can be quite the opposite. There are numerous stories that are positive proving cancer patients do get back on the road again. It isn’t an easy journey, but it certainly can be achieved!

From my experience, when you’re feeling good, you want to go out more, spend more time with your friends and family, and see what’s happening around you. I have decided to focus on exercises outside of your home, but by no means, don’t forget the ones you can do at home.

We have looked at walking, running, swimming, gym, yoga, and Pilates to name a few, which are all fun activities to begin or start again. All these activities can be done alone or in a group. However, I must point out that often it’s more pleasant when you’re interacting with others during an activity. On the other hand, you may require quiet time depending on your circumstances and feelings, and that’s okay.

Because I work in the Pilates sector of exercise, I suggest you sign-up with a reputable Pilates Centre and try the following exercises, if your instructor feels you are up to it. Working on the equipment is fun, challenging and offers tremendous benefits for your body, no matter if you’re in the pre or post cancer stage, or even if you don’t have cancer. Keep in mind that the equipment must be in good condition or the effects will not be attained. A good Pilates studio should have quality equipment.

The Teaser

This exercise can be done on any piece of equipment. It is particularly beneficial for the abs, and loosens the pectorals when on the Trapeze Table, and strengthens the pectorals when on the Reformer. We know how tight the pecs can become, especially after expanders and implants. The pectorals also weaken with non-use after surgery and adjuvant therapies, therefore a balance must be met by both the stretching and strengthening exercises. Ensure that your instructor also incorporates an exercise with thoracic extension after the Teaser Series, such as supine work on the Spine Corrector, for example.

The Mermaid/Merman

This exercise can be performed on all the Pilates equipment as well as the mat. It addresses lateral flexion and extension with the use of the breath, and is great for engaging and utilising rib expansion and the use of intercostal functions. You can also incorporate shoulder elevation and depression whilst practicing the Mermaid in the kneeling position with the Wunda Chair. These types of exercises are beneficial for those who may have developed nerve damage from surgery, node biopsies or lat flap reconstruction.

Lastly, enjoy the social aspect of the experience, after all we are a social species, and therefore appreciate that fact. Have fun and enjoy the workout!


Heidi Wright is certified in Pilates Mat, Allegro, Studio and Post Rehabilitation with Polestar Pilates and Pilates elder Lolita San Miguel. She is also a member and certified instructor with Pilates Method Alliance and a Post Rehabilitation practitioner with Pink Ribbon.

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