Pilates with Pat

The Pilates stretching exercises can be both easy and fun! [from an image on the Pat Waters Pilates website]

Pat Waters has been running a Pilates session at Allendale Village Hall for the past eight years, and she sends along some notes about the Tuesday morning courses (11-12):

“My Pilates class has been going relentlessly for the last 8 years and I have to say most successfully.  At the moment I have 19 regular participants.  It is a very social class.  Every Christmas we go to one of the Allendale cafes for a lunch together.  Quite a few members have been with me for the full 8 years though we always welcome new faces.

We have a mixed group of people with regard to age and both men and women attend.  People come from outlying areas too.  For example Sparty Lea and Sinderhope.

I have been teaching exercise for 27 (27!!) years now and Pilates for 13 of those years.  I used to run the GP referral class in Allendale at the Village Hall until 8 years ago.  So I’m very familiar with and fond of Allendale now.”

Pat also sent along a leaflet that she distributes which describes the Pilates approach, and which I shall try to reproduce here:

“Pilates is a gentle “thinking” exercise, helping your mind and body to work in harmony to produce a mobile, healthy, toned and flexible body.  The primary focus is on posture and the abdominal muscles, strengthening the central core.  It is suitable – and indeed – recommended for chronic back pain sufferers and will aid weight loss by increasing muscle mass, thereby improving metabolic rate.

Pilates is suitable for all age groups, fitness levels, men and women.  For the more mature exerciser it can slow down the signs of ageing by encouraging joints and muscles to be more pliable, making everyday movements easier.  

Women who have experienced childbirth will benefit as Pilates incorporates the all-important pelvic floor muscles.  

People who participate in sport or any of the performance arts will find the extra core strength and balance enhance their enjoyment, increase level of performance and decrease chance of injury.

Pilates is also very relaxing.  It requires intense concentration so that negative thoughts or worries are pushed to one side.


  • Increased muscle, tendon and ligament strength associated with joint stability
  • Improved lower back and joint stability, reducing likelihood of further damage
  • Increase of lean muscle tissue and metabolic rate, thereby indirectly aiding a weight loss programme
  • Improved bone density in specific areas of the skeleton when placed under load
  • Increased range of movement through the joints
  • Improvement in everyday function, such as lifting; carrying; climbing stairs; getting out of the bath; standing from a chair unaided
  • Pilates does not produce bulky muscles but encourages a long and lean physique
  • Improved balance
  • The controlled, deep breathing that accompanies the exercises oxygenates the blood leaving you feeling good afterwards

Pilates is perfect exercise for the ‘baby-boomer’ generation as it provides a full body workout without the wear and tear.

Suitable for anyone and everyone:

  • Anyone wishing to return to exercise after a break or taking it up for the first time
  • Chronic back pain sufferers
  • Anyone with a weight disorder
  • All sports participants, especially those who have suffered injuries as a result of an imbalance in their muscles
  • Performers for whom good posture is vital, such as dancers, actors and musicians
  • The more mature person wanting to maintain independence and mobility
  • Sufferers of both stress and stress-related illnesses
  • People with Repetitive Strain Injury

About Joseph Pilates:

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880.  His father was a gymnast of Greek ancestry and his mother worked as a naturopath.  He was a frail and sickly child suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever.  Because of this he became obsessed with physical fitness and determined to improve his body image.

He was involved in diving, skiing, gymnastics, boxing and wrestling. He believed that ‘modern’ lifestyle, poor posture and inefficient breathing were responsible for bad health.  He studied Yoga and the movements of animals.

He moved to England before the First World War then was interned because of his nationality.  While there, he devised a fitness programme for his fellow internees to help them maintain muscle tone when confined in a small space.  It is generally believed that he and his fellow inmates survived the 1918 ‘flu pandemic due to their good physical shape.

Post war, he returned to Germany and became involved in dance.  He later emigrated to America and set up his first fitness studio in New York.

Actors and actresses, sports people, the rich and famous were all attracted by his methods which built strength without adding bulk, balancing strength with flexibility and achieving harmony between mind and muscle.  

He taught until the 1960s.  His method uses the mind to control muscles, focussing attention on core postural muscles that keep the body balanced and provide support for the spine, strengthening the deep abdominal muscles.”

Contact Pat Waters on 07702735070 or  pmwaters@btinternet.com or see  www.patwaterspilates.com

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