PARKINSON’S disease and a developmental co-ordination disorder made every day a challenge for 74-year-old Ann Marie Marcoux.
But one year ago, the Kallaroo resident started private Pilates Reformer sessions twice a week with Kristen Abbott at The Pilates Klinik in Joondalup.
“It was a gift from my daughter-in-law who had heard Pilates was good for balance and strength,” she said.
“My balance has tremendously improved from being completely gone; I’d say it is 75 per cent as good as when I was young, which has been life changing for me.
“I don’t fall as much and I feel secure moving around – it is great. My muscle tone is up and my body shape feels different; I just feel stronger, better, self-assured and my back pain is gone too.”
The Pilates Reformer is a machine which uses springs and body weight as resistance to tone and strengthen.
“To feel secure in my balance again has mentally changed everything; I don’t feel frail, I’m not constantly worried, it is very freeing.”
Studio co-owner Michael Abbott said Mrs Marcoux had been relying on her husband to take care of her and drive her around.
However, earlier this year, he had a stroke and is no longer able to care for her.
“Her newfound physical independence has literally been a life saver,” Mr Abbott said.
“In pilates, we often see people transform; they move different, they hold themselves differently, pain disappears, inflexibilities begin to open.
“In Ann Marie’s case, these changes have meant so much more.
“For someone who couldn’t stand without assistance or step up on a box, gaining these abilities back is life changing.
“She used to go home and sleep for three hours in the afternoon after her sessions but she no longer gets exhausted like that and says her energy is a million times better.
“Although the Parkinson’s will continue to progress, the beauty of pilates is we can always adjust the program to try to rebalance her strength, mobility, flexibility as it changes.”
Mrs Marcoux said she would highly recommend pilates for others who have Parkinson’s disease “because of the improvements to balance and regaining the confidence to continue getting on with life”.