PUBLISHED ON: 28 April 2020

When she was going through breast cancer treatment, Susan used Pilates to keep her mind and body active, even when she couldn't leave the house. Now, with many of us unable to get out for exercise, she wants to encourage others to give it a try.

Susan stretches one leg while standing on a fallen tree

I wanted to do something meaningful

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, I had been working for myself as an interior designer. I found myself sitting all day and feeling stressed all the time.

After treatment, I decided to change direction and use my Pilates instructor qualification that I had gained from Body Control Pilates in London in 2014 and become a Rehabilitation Pilates Instructor specialising in low back pain. I wanted to work in an area that was more meaningful and where I could give something back.

I have a low back injury myself, which is why I became a Pilates instructor in the first place. It was the only form of exercise that helped my back.

Pilates was created for rehabilitation

In my job at a physiotherapist clinic, I work with clients on their specific issues - everything from hip replacements to shoulder issues to low back chronic pain issues - and I love seeing a client going from fear of movement to being able to move with ease. 

Pilates is a form of exercise that is very safe to perform, and so is recommended by many physiotherapists in the rehabilitation of their clients. Joe Pilates, the founder, worked with wounded soldiers, dancers who had sustained injuries, and many who had undergone a masectomy after breast cancer to help with mobility and rehabilitation.

When I was going through breast cancer treatment and couldn’t work, I did my Pilates routine every day to keep myself mobile and keep my back from stiffening up. It also helped me mentally, as the breathing patterns help to calm the mind. It was the first I did each day, starting with gentle stretches and Pilates exercises, and then again in the evening to wind down to help me sleep. The exercises eased the tension and helped me to stay calm when my mind would wander to a dark place. 

It's important to look after our bodies

I started making videos for the physiotherapist clinic to help keep everyone moving, as it’s important in these strange times that we look after our bodies. With so many of us working from home, taking a couple of minutes to stretch each day and get out of our seats is essential, as our home offices aren’t set up as a real office would be - so we find ourselves sitting on the sofa or at the kitchen table, probably not in the best posture. 

To check out more of Susan's Pilates videos, you can go to her Instagram channel


For more information on how you can manage during coronavirus and isolation, make sure to visit our information pages.

Coronavirus and breast cancer