My June member spotlight is on Susie who has been coming to pilates sessions with me for around 5 years I think – time flies!! Susie suffers from osteoarthritis but has so far avoided surgery by managing her condition with Pilates. I will let her tell you more…

“I first did Pilates 23 years ago when I was living in Japan. Friends told me ‘you can feel the difference in one month, see the difference in two months and have a whole new body in three months’. That was intriguing!

I continued to do Pilates on and off. Really enjoyed doing it when I lived in New York and went to a studio where all these ballet students worked out. Seeing what they are getting out of it was really motivating as they often had to deal with quite debilitating injuries.

I have severe osteoarthritis in my knees and spine and I’ve been shying away from surgery for years now. Pilates really helps to strengthen my knees and keep me more supple than I would be otherwise. I’ve learnt that the best thing you can do is keep moving. I also find it incredibly good for my psychological health by creating space for me in an otherwise busy life. To concentrate on Pilates, I have to clear my head and truly be in the moment. The world and its worries seem to retreat for an hour.

My least favourite exercise is anything that involves standing on my toes – after all these years, I seem to have no sense of balance! And, because of my knees, I can’t get anyway near a squat or lunge.

I love the small rubber balls and think they are a terrific prop for a whole range of exercises. I particularly like working with them at the base of my spine – it feels very therapeutic.

I know lots of people who’ve started Pilates and given up disappointed and underwhelmed. They are mainly people who work out in a gym and do lots of cardio and I suspect they have the wrong expectations and think it’s not working if they’re not feeling the burn. I believe you have to be patient with Pilates and realise that you can keep pushing yourself and improve however long you’ve done it. It’s a very subtle process and If you constantly challenge yourself, you won’t get bored. It helps if your teacher mixes it up and Caroline certainly does that. There is always something unexpected that I haven’t tried before.”