Pilates & Weight Management

Pilates is not always thought of as an exercise for weight management. It is better known to improve core strength. You would jog, walk 10,000 steps a day or do high intensity interval training (HIIT) to lose weight. But if running or walking an extra mile, or lifting another 10 kilograms of weight is taking a toil on your knees, ankles or low back, research shows Pilates is a good alternative to lose the extra weight, while going easy on the joints.


Walking is often recommended for weight loss, but walking can be a challenging task if you are overweight or obese, and have a history of knee pain or other musculoskeletal pain or injuries.

Obese adults have more load to carry. The greater load puts more stress on the joints of the lower body. Obesity also affects gait patterns, which make obese adults more prone to joint overload than non-obese adults when walking, according to a study in 2012 which examined the locomotion mechanics of obese adults and children.

According to the study, published in the journal Current Obesity Reports, obese adults preferred a slower walking speed of 1.2 metres per second, compared to non-obese adults of 1.4 m/sec. The slower pace allows for both feet to stay longer on the ground for “double support.” Balance is an issue because of the weight, according to the study.


The study also found obese adults take wider steps and have more foot eversion — an ankle movement associated with flat foot — compared with non-obese adults. They also have stiffer ankles, which cause the joints closer the trunk such as the knees and hips to move more than normal when walking. The walking abnormalities increase the risk of premature knee osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal injuries.

As a result, a more cautious approach should be taken when brisk walking is recommended, according to the study. Including activities to improve movement at the ankles, knees and hips should be considered to avoid joint overload and the risk of injuries.

If you are overweight and walking is a challenge, what can you do? Are there alternatives?


2021 analysis suggests Pilates as a “good option” to help manage body weight without over-loading the joints. Current data showed Pilates could “significantly decrease” body weight, body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage in adults who are overweight or obese, according to the analysis.

The meta-analysis, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, reviewed 11 recent studies, which examined the effects of Pilates for weight loss. The studies involved 393 overweight and obese adults in total.

The weight-loss benefits were significant, and were more pronounced in studies which involved participants with obesity only and when Pilates was performed over a longer period of time. Pilates is a low impact exercise which is less stressful on the joints. As a result, Pilates is a good alternative treatment for weight loss, according to the analysis.


Another benefit of Pilates is the exercise is suitable for all age groups and fitness levels. For example, the Pilates Footwork — a series of ankle and leg exercises on the reformer — can help overweight and obese adults overcome gait challenges. A staple in Pilates reformer classes, the Footwork exercise series strengthens the ankles and legs, improves alignment and breathing.

Pilates Footwork makes ankle and leg exercises easier to do when you are a beginner. You can do them, so can you parents and even grandparents. As you become stronger, Pilates provides room for improvement. The Footwork advances to a single leg, or a jump exercise to further improve the ankle and leg strength, co-ordination and stamina.

On the other hand, if you are an advanced mover, who is always on your feet, Pilates Footwork let you take the load off your feet for a change. If your hamstrings, hip flexors or calves always feel tight after you exercise, take some weight off these muscles. Let them stretch and work in length on the reformer. Improving flexibility is another benefit of Pilates.

Walk, run and cycle better when you have better lower body flexibility. Whether you are new to exercise or a fitness pro, whether you are young or old, you can benefit from the Pilates footwork exercises.


Additionally, new research from America suggests low-impact ankle activities may be one of the best exercises you could do to increase the body’s metabolism. In 2022, research scientists from the University of Houston in Texas discovered the soleus — an ankle muscle — could play an important role in lowering blood glucose and lipids in the body, and improve metabolic health.

The study found the soleus muscle works at its best when the activity is kept low. You may not be sweating as much, but you are actually burning more glucose and lipids than walking or running by keeping the soleus muscle active. The results of the study suggest low-impact ankle exercises are worth doing and have more benefits than we realised.


Footwork is an example of a Pilates exercise, which is helpful when you have gait challenges or lower body joint pain. Knee osteoarthritis is a risk factor when you are overweight, and walking and other leg exercises such as aerobics, jumping jacks and squats with weights can exert too much stress on the knee joints, particularly if you are just starting out to exercise. Pilates Footwork makes lower body exercises easier for you. There are other exercises which you would do in a Pilates class for a complete workout to lose weight.

Pilates is best known to improve core strength and reduce back pain. Research shows it is also a good exercise for weight loss. If your list of fitness goals include to lose weight, improve core strength, reduce back pain, have a full-body workout and more. Doing Pilates would tick a lot of boxes on your fitness list. So why not give Pilates a try?

Start today. Select from below the programme that best suits you:

Trim & Tone Programmes

Bespoke Pilates

Pilates 1-to-1

Are you looking to lose weight through exercise? Enjoy a full-body workout that is high on fun, and low in its impact on the knees and low back. What you will receive from the 1-to-1:

  • A personalised Pilates session to suit your need; suitable from beginner to advanced
  • Particularly helpful if you have specific tightness on the knees, low back or ankles and want to focus on the area/s
  • Build up your strength and stamina: start slow on exercises you find difficult, take on more challenging exercises as you improve
  • Improve core strength: trim and tone the abdomen
  • Access to Personal Training for more strength training
  • Also, access to Rehabilitation for pain relief, manual therapy is included in the session at no extra charge

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No Painkillers, No Surgery

Manual Therapy

Manual Therapy is included in the Pilates 1-to-1 if musculoskeletal pain, such as knee, low back or shoulder pain is preventing you to exercise. What you will receive from the 1-to-1:

  • An assessment of the pain and range of motion of the affected joint
  • Manual therapy to loosen tension on the joint and area
  • Improve your movement: bend over to pick up an item or raise you arm to reach above for an item without pain
  • Receive stretching exercises which you can do at home
  • Improve your knee, shoulder alignment with Pilates; embark on your weight loss goals with confidence;
  • Receive exercise progression so you could improve further; exercise without fear of re-injury

Manual Therapy is inclusive of Pilates 1-to-1

Sign up for a trial today

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Share the joy of Pilates

Pilates Duet

You want to try Pilates, and share the experience with a loved one or friend. Our sweetheart sessions may just be the answer:

  • Strengthen and stretch in a programme designed for you both. Find a better match between your need and interest, and the exercise
  • The exercises will also address specific aches or pain you have; avoid injury
  • Flexible timing to suit your schedule, so you rarely miss a session; improve with regular practice
  • Build lean muscles, get back into shape
  • Improve your sitting and standing posture; experience less aches and pain
  • Option to top-up for a 3rd person, a loved one or friend, to join you in class; pay per use

Sign up for a trial today

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Pilates Group

We’re growing BIGGER in terms of floor space to offer you more Pilates classes, but are staying SMALL in terms of class sizes. What you will receive:

  • Enjoy a 55-minute workout to strengthen core muscles, stretch and strengthen the body
  • Available in the morning and lunch time, take a quick break from your busy schedule to reset and re-align the body
  • Or join the evening or Saturday classes to stretch, strengthen and recharge after a long day
  • Take it slow with the Reformer class, or pick up the tempo and burn calories with the Mat Flow or Dance class
  • Exercise in a small class ratio of about 4 – 6 participants to 1 instructor; receive the attention you need; good for beginners

Sign up for a trial today from $60* only

*T&Cs apply.

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    Seeing Results In Five Classes

    I highly recommend Pilates. It has helped me recover from my sunken hips. And it was only after five classes. Teacher May is also very careful and professional. Thank you.

    Surprise to Sweat

    I have been positively surprised by the sweat after the Pilates sessions with May. As someone who has spent many hours in the gym, (I didn't expect the intensity of Pilates exercise.) The moves targeted at “small muscles” have brought new inspiration and fun to exercise.

    Ease the Effects of Chemotherapy

    Cancer and chemotherapy have greatly affected and changed my body and mind. During chemotherapy, I have developed chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. A year into post chemotherapy, the side effects, pain and discomforts lingered on. My hands and legs were frequently stiff, swollen and tingling with pins and needles. I was struggling with fatigue, balance and mobility. I met May at Move Therapy in January 2018. Her studio is no frills but well equipped and personable. May did not paint me any rosy promises or rainbow illusions. She did some evaluations and suggested we can start with some rehabilitation and strengthening workouts. I never looked elsewhere after our initial workout and I have been going to her since. Thanks to her guidance and motivation, I have physically improved and no longer suffering in pain and discomfort. The tingling pins and needles in my hands and feet have much subdued and most important, I am no longer struggling with my balance and mobility.
    K Foo


    "I love the Pilates class! The clear, well-structured and creative exercises sometimes left me feeling sore, but glad I went. The instructor tailored the exercises to suit class members, provided individual attention to everyone on alignment and posture improvement. I found her “hands on” approach very helpful. It helped me understand what I need to work on. Going to the classes have improved my posture, flexibility and strength. Definitely for people who are interested in increasing their flexibility, balance and strength!"
    Chew Hoey

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