Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Introducing the experts…Hannah Epps

We will be introducing a range of different experts from WIFE throughout WI Sports Week so make sure you check back in regularly to hear more…

What do I do?
I teach Pilates and run a small private Pilates studio specialising in women’s wellness mainly classes, mat and equipment and one to one training to relieve back pain, improve Pelvic Floor Fitness, stretching and trigger point release.  I’ma  level 3 CYQ Pilates mat and equipment teacher, a “Pure Stretch” and “Your Pelvic Matters” qualified coach and I encourage daily movement.  Many of my clients are so busy so if they can’t attend classes, my website has videos, online classes and short e-courses. To help get deeper into specific issues, I also run workshops and retreats to make sure we are sociable and approachable so that clients feel relaxed to learn and discuss personal body issues and exercises with me.

How and why did I get involved? 
I have worked in business as a head-hunter and event organiser since 1992, commuting 3 hours to London, sitting all day, running corporate lunches and evenings, and I realised I was sluggish and unhappy.  When 9/11 happened in 2001, I was in the office in London and my attitude and life completely changed.  I decided to hand in my notice, and I became a local Marketing Manager of a Sports Centre in 2001, and I started attending a Pilates class.

I fell in love with the gentle movement and how it made me feel, as it was so much harder than it looks.  After my first baby, I had the car accident in 2004 and Pilates helped not just to get my body stronger but also helped my rehabilitation.  Whilst pregnant with my second daughter, I had had enough of working long hours and I wanted to spend more time with my daughters, and understand how Pilates was helping my back and reducing hip pain, so I trained to become a Pilates teacher and I’ve never looked back.

Why is sport and exercise important to you? 
Pilates is amazing, but I balance it with other forms exercise such as dancing, walking, groups classes and running with my dog.  I know the impact and speed of some fast aerobic classes has made me overuse of some muscles and the pelvic floor pounding means the slow movement and stretching in Pilates is essential for me to isolate the right muscles and focus on my inner core.  This helps support, mobilise my spine and receive my painful achy hip and knee joints.  My posture was very bad after having children and when I work on the laptop, but Pilates helps me work my weak muscles and helps remind me in daily life to draw in my tummy muscles, lift up and lengthen through my spine.  My tummy isn’t perfect but Pilates works my core muscles so they are more toned and stronger to support my back.

Pilates helps strengthen my weak Pelvic floor and tummy and I find Pilates is great for my older clients who have had hip or knee replacement or injuries or sciatica, arthritis, osteoporosis.  It also improves their balance to help prevent falls: a third of all people over 65 fall each year – 3 million people.

I find Pilates very calming in my busy life with a chaotic family and social life and I can get more stressed post menopause as cortisol levels are higher so relaxation and meditation at the end of a class is essential help me create balance.  I swear by my morning Pilates and stretch routine to get me up and moving as I truly believe that you are as young as you feel, so keep your joints moving.

How can more women get involved?
Find a local class - Pilates is so popular for men and women now that classes are run everywhere and remember that although it looks easy, it is important to learn the basics in a beginner’s class or a one-to-one session first.  Good teachers will have a lesson plan but will adapt the exercises to a lower level or appropriate for any injuries that you might have, and a class is more sociable and should always be fun!  You may even make friends through your class – many of my students go for a coffee or drink after class.

Another way to learn is from online videos or courses, or through my website where I have online back care courses.  You can do this in the privacy of your home on your own if you are not confident (but you must check you are doing it right), or involve your family and do it together.

I really encourage my clients to do ten minutes every morning and give daily morning schedules for them as simple exercises, stretches or changing bad posture habits helps your body stay young.  So if you have a persistent back pain or aches and pains or weak pelvic floor that puts you off exercising please contact me, I’m very happy to give you a morning schedule right for you or to help answer questions.

Whatever you decide is right for you MOVE, ENJOY it and MAKE IT PART OF YOUR LIFE!

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