Calling all dancers: 5 Clinical pilates exercises to help prevent injuries

Calling all dancers: 5 Clinical pilates exercises to help prevent injuries


As a dancer, your body is your instrument and keeping it in top condition is essential for preventing injuries and performing at your best. Clinical pilates exercises offer a safe, effective, and targeted way to prevent or rehab from a variety of injuries, as well as strengthen your body, improve posture, and enhance your performance. 

Due to the the repetitive nature of the sport, dancers are at risk for a number of overuse injuries. Several studies have shown that dancers have a variety of muscular imbalances which places them at additional risk for injury, making it essential to supplement dance classes with additional training such as clinical pilates to mitigate the risk. By strengthening the core, improving balance and enhancing stability, dancers can reduce the risk of overuse injuries and improve their performance. Whether you’re a competitive dancer or simply enjoy moving your body to music, incorporating clinical pilates exercises can help you stay healthy, strong, and at the top of your game!

Below are few simple mat pilates exercises that you can do at home to build strength. 

Bent Knee Fall-Outs

The first few exercises in this series focus on building deep core strength and lumbo-pelvic stability, which are essential for any style of dance and reducing the risk of injury. 

Begin lying on your back with your feet together, pressing into the mat. Ensure your core is engaged and your rib cage relaxed. Keep your torso still throughout this exercise.

Ground through one foot to stabilize the pelvis, slowly bring the opposite knee to the side, allowing the hip to glide. Press into that foot to return the knee to the midline. Repeat the movement on the opposite side. Complete 10-12 reps in total.


Knee Floats

Begin lying on your back, feet hip distance apart, pressing into the mat. Engage your core, keeping the ribs and diaphragm relaxed. 

Start by grounding through one foot to stabilize the pelvis. Float or bring the opposite leg so that it makes a tabletop position (i.e. perpendicular to the floor). Hold your torso and pelvis steady and return the leg back to the start position. Complete 10-12 reps in total. 

Tip: Keep your glute muscles relaxed so that the movement comes from your core and hip flexors.


Toe Taps

Begin lying on your back with both legs in the air in a “90/90” position. Keep the rib cage relaxed and the core engaged. Slowly lower one leg, until your foot touches the floor. Tap your foot and then reverse the movement, returning to the “90/90” position. Repeat moving the opposite leg for 10-12 reps in total.

Tip: Initiate the movement from your hip, not from your knee or ankle. 


Side Leg Lifts

This exercise is great for building hip abductor and oblique strength, as well as working on lumbopelvic stability, which can improve turns and any kind of single leg balance.

Begin in side-lying with the bottom leg bent and the top leg extended. Flex your ankle and toes, and make sure your pelvis is facing forward.

Stabilize your torso and pelvis and then reach through the leg and lift the top hip towards the ceiling while maintaining the alignment in the torso and hips. Slowly control the leg back to the start position. Repeat 10-12 reps on each side. 

Tip: Only lift your leg through a range that does not compromise pelvic stability.  



Dancers, especially those trained in ballet often have strong hip external rotators from working in turn-out during classical repertoire. For these athletes, it is important to incorporate hip internal rotator strengthening to reduce strength imbalances and support their work in parallel positions. 

Begin in side-lying with both knees bent. Keep your torso and pelvis stable on the mat.

Press the top knee into the other knee to initiate a spiral in the hip, which will allow the lower part of your leg to lift. Slowly control your leg back to the starting position. Repeat for 10-12 reps on each side. 

Tip: Keep your foot in a neutral position and your core engaged throughout the exercise. 



Consult your physiotherapist if you have any specific injuries or want a targeted program to address your specific needs. Thanks for reading! 

Written by: Talia Berson

Skiers Happy Feet: 5 exercises to keep your feet active and strong during the ski season!

Skiers Happy Feet: 5 exercises to keep your feet active and strong during the ski season!


We are well into this year’s ski season! Many of us wait excitedly for November to April in anticipation of getting out on the slopes. But, after a long day of skiing or snowboarding, your feet and calves may feel the burn.  

Exercises targeting below the knee are often neglected when warming up and cooling down from activity, especially the feet. Our ankle and foot muscles are much smaller than our legs, BUT the job they do is important for carving, jumping and doing our best pizza (snow plowing). 

Below are a few simple exercises with no equipment you can do at home to help strengthen your ankles and feet. 


I would be remiss not to mention the tight-fitting and rigid boots required for skiing! Getting your boots properly fitted is essential, and have your boots checked at a ski/snowboard store. 

 If your boots still aren’t quite right, here are a few tips to increase comfort:  

  • Add a supportive or cushioned insole. 
  • Invest in ski socks. These are thin yet warm and padded at the shin and toes to protect you from boot pressure points. 
  • Ask your ski/snowboard store about punching out your boots. A good boot tech can help with hot spots where the shell of the boot rubs against your foot. This is accomplished by heating up the boot’s plastic and stretching it out in that area. This is especially helpful for individuals with a Tailor’s bunion (6th toe), wide forefoot, ankle pressure, navicular pressure, and heel spurs.


Toe raises 

Big toe only – Stand with your feet flat on the floor. Lift only your big toe, then slowly lower. Try to keep your other toes relaxed. 

Tip: If you notice your big toe drifting towards your other toes, loop an elastic band around both your big toes to keep them pointing straight. This is especially helpful for individuals with Hallux Valgus (like me!) 

Everything but the big toe – Stand flat on the floor. Lift all of your toes up except the big toe, then lower. 

Arch raises

Stand with your feet flat on the floor. Lift the arch of your foot up towards the ceiling, keeping your toes touching the floor, then lower. 

Tip: Your longitudinal arch runs from your heel to your toes along the foot’s inner border. Picture a string at the top of the arch. Pull the string up towards the ceiling to lift the arch higher.


Standing with your feet flat on the floor. Alternate between rising up on the balls of your feet (plantar flexion) and pulling up the front of your foot (dorsiflexion). 

Tip: To make this exercise more functional, stand in a squat stance with bent knees, similar to your posture when skiing or snowboarding.  

Straight Knee Version


Bent Knee Version

Calf stretch 

Stand in tandem (i.e. one foot forward, one foot back). Bend the front knee and keep your back leg straight. You should feel a stretch in your calf at the back of the straight leg. 

Tip: Bend both knees to stretch your deeper calf muscles. 

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the slopes! Consult your physiotherapist if you experience pain or want to work on conditioning for the ski and snowboard season. 

Written by: Allison Evers

Four Benefits of Exercise for Individuals with Cancer

Four Benefits of Exercise for Individuals with Cancer


Exercise can be a safe and effective way to help manage the side effects of cancer and its treatments. The great thing about exercise is that it can be used before, during and after all types of treatment and for any cancer. Here are four benefits of exercise for individuals with cancer:

1. Combat Fatigue

Cancer-related fatigue is one of the main side effects that patients deal with, no matter the type of cancer or treatment they receive. Research supports exercise as a first-line treatment for fatigue. The key is to start small and work your way up. Introduce activity into every day, make your goal to start at a minimum of 10 minutes of daily light walking, even on days when you feel incredibly fatigued, then eventually work up to the moderate intensity exercise.

2. Improve Overall Function

Muscular strength and endurance, as well as heart function and efficiency, can be affected by cancer and its treatments. To maintain the ability to be independent and perform basic activities of daily living, we need our bodies to be strong.  Regular exercise can help enhance function and is recommended for the best health.

3. Decrease Treatment Side Effects

Regular exercise has been shown to help improve recovery from surgery and decrease and manage the side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. The key is to start moving and add regular exercise into your daily life. Loss in muscle mass, weight gain, loss of range of motion, neuropathy and many other side effects can be managed with specific exercises, be sure to consult a trained exercise professional for specific exercises.

4. Feel Better

Regular exercise has been shown to improve many things that will make you feel better when it’s normal not to feel at your best. Exercise can improve mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. Additionally, it can help maintain strength, improve quality of life and manage other chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Exercise is an energy booster, and a mix of resistance and aerobic training is recommended to give you the best results.


At Treloar, our cancer recovery program offers individualized one-on-one sessions and group classes. Suppose sessions are booked with Ayesha Koome, a Certified Athletic Therapist. In that case, you may get coverage through extended medical providers such as Great West Life, Sunlife, Manulife and Greenshield. 

If you have any questions about this article or more information about what we offer in our Cancer Recovery Program, contact Ayesha Koome at or visit our website HERE.

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