Having enjoyed an athletic childhood, I first experienced debilitating back pain from a herniated disc at age 18. By age 34, I had an additional three herniated discs. My level of mobility and fitness was severely restricted. A year later, I underwent a discectomy and a spinal fusion.
Post surgery, my physical therapist introduced me to core strengthening exercises on the reformer. Those exercises changed my life. Pilates empowered me to manage my own rehabilitation without continued medical care or addictive pain medication.
Today I live largely pain-free by integrating Pilates into my regular fitness routine. By building my core strength, I get the maximum benefit out of my other workouts like spinning, barre, light weight lifting, hiking and running.
Inspired by the power of Pilates to rehabilitate the body, I trained to become a Pilates instructor, and took advantage of additional coursework on Pilates for injuries.
This year I began teaching Pilates reformer and mat classes in Kabul, Afghanistan to journalists, humanitarian aid and international development professionals. Through my students, I see how Pilates builds their strength, reduces pain from certain injuries, and most importantly, relieves stress from living and working in a war zone.
Author: Michele Bradford
Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
Occupation: Instructor, Owner Bionic Bodies Pilates LLC