benefits of Pilates to quality of life

How Aerobic Exercise and Pilates Could Change Your Quality of Life

Research into the benefits of Pilates is progressing, such that a recent article reported increased quality of life for people engaged in regular aerobic and Pilates exercises. What was even more interesting is that the study participants all had RR Multiple Sclerosis (Relapsing Remitting). If Pilates is beneficial to people with this chronic illnesses, imagine how it might benefit people of all walks of life!

The research study was reported in the Journal of Neuroimmunology and was titled “Combined Exercise Training Increases BDNF in Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS).” Now isn’t that a mouth full. 

This research is looking at ways to improve life for people with RRMS, using natural strategies. In their study, the researchers wanted to know if people with RRMS would benefit from a combined aerobics and Pilates training program. One of the end points they measured was the hormone, Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This molecule is of interest because it’s hypothesized to play a role in the nerve-protective mechanisms of some MS therapies.

In the study, one group of RRMS patients completed a combined aerobic-Pilates exercise program. The control group did not engage in exercise. The results were positive – the BDNF levels increased in the combined aerobic-Pilates exercise group and did not change in the control group, strongly suggesting that the combined aerobic-Pilates program was an effective therapy. In terms of quality of life, it was exciting that there were significantly greater improvements at 8 weeks in balance, fatigue, and functional exercise capacity in the combined aerobic-Pilates versus the control group.

What does this research mean for people with RRMS? It suggests that “…combined exercise training consisting of Pilates and aerobic exercise can be applied safely in ambulatory patients with multiple sclerosis for achieving improvements in quality of life and possible protection against neurodegeneration.”

Summary article and reference


Ozkul C, Guclu-Gunduz A, Irkec C, et al. Effect of combined exercise training on serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor, suppressors of cytokine signaling 1 and 3 in patients with multiple sclerosis [published online January 3, 2018]. J Neuroimmunol. doi:10.1016/j.jneuroim.2018.01.002

Neuroplasticity - the brain muscle connectionNeuroplasticity: A Key to Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Slowing Aging

One of the buzz words for 2018 will be “neuroplasticity.” Neuroplasticity is the combined effects of all body processes involved in stabilising or counteracting aging processes. This is a rapidly growing field of research, driven by the voices of baby boomers striving to live long, healthy, productive lives. Effects are far-reaching and may one day be able to slow the onset of dementia, enhance recovery from strokes and heart attacks, and manage other chronic diseases. Currently, neuroplasticity is being investigated as a tool for managing stress, anxiety, overall health and slowing down aging.

This concept of neuroplasticity excited Joan—a connection between the mind and body that could bring about long-term benefits! This past year, she was thrilled to attend two workshops with facia master trainer, Marie-Jose Blom. Marie-Jose’s courses integrate brain science with fascia research, and integrate these into Pilates exercise programs.

Joan returned from these courses invigorated (of course!), with a new, richer understanding of neuroplasticity, and a gym bag full of strategies for applying this understanding to Pilates exercises.

In terms of neuroplasticity, Joan will use the knowledge that “fascia needs the right kind of load environment and movement to control muscle action” to help students build neuroplasticity in her Pilates classes. By facilitating appropriate postural alignment, creating efficient loading patterns, reminders about balance, breathing, and mindful movement, students will be able to better manage stress, anxiety, pain, their overall health and aging processes.

These Benefits of Foam Rolling Are Worth the Ouch

By Shannon Bauer

Our friends over at Fitness Magazine wrote this great little article about foam rolling, to help you get your foam rolling working for you! 

You Don't Need to Overdo It

"Go slowly and in multiple directions," says Allison Hagendorf, ACE-certified health coach. Yes, you'll feel some pain, but a foam roller isn't a torture device. Spend 20 seconds on each spot, then move on to the next one.

Foam Rolling Speeds Up Recovery

The deep compression improves circulation and allows normal blood flow to return to the area. See, after a hard workout, the fascia, or tissue surrounding your muscles, becomes tender. This tenderness may be a result of restricted blood flow. Foam rolling increases blood flow to the area in order to speed up recovery.

Foam Rolling Improves Range of Motion

Roll the knots away to boost mobility: Foam rolling improves range of motion, according to the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.

Foam Rolling Breaks Up Lactic Acid

Foam roll after a tough workout to break up the lactic acid that accumulated in your muscles—it's the stuff that causes muscle fatigue. Again, this helps you recover faster. For even better results, drink water; it helps the process, says Hagendorf.

Foam Rolling Breaks Up Scar Tissue

You know that exercising creates tiny tears in your muscles, and that your muscles grow stronger as these tears heal. Over time, though, these tears can create scar tissue, which restricts muscle movement. Foam rolling smoothes out any scar tissue, helping keep your muscles mobile.



Enhance your conscious understanding of how your body moves!

Join us @Health4Life to change your conscious understanding of how the body moves in real life and learn the Pilates approach to correct movement.

1. Benefits only can be achieved by being consistent (being in class).

2. Learning YOUR proper posture to benefit the exercise.

Joan Buna, Health4Life Centre

Pilates on Tour – Continuing Education for Pilates Professionals

The human body is your greatest instrument. You don’t get another one so it’s ideal to always put your best foot forward (possibly into a lunging series?) Our highly respected and intelligent Pilates instructors are away participating in their continuing education, and this weekend, that takes them to Phoenix, Arizona. At this time last year, Joan and Arienne were absorbing an extraordinary amount of valuable knowledge from a highly-regarded instructor by the name of Chrissy Romani-Ruby. Chrissy’s knowledge, along with their exposure to her unique and sought-after teachings will make for unforgettable experiences.

In this year’s course, Joan and Arienne will learn the most research about spine movement and loads, as well as strategies for integrating their new knowledge into their Pilates classes here at Health4Life Centre. Given that our bodies change continuously in response to life’s experiences, and that the spine is vital for posture and participating in different types of activities, understanding how to support and maintain spinal health is essential for a healthy life. When Joan and Arienne return, they will be spreading their new knowledge about spinal health and a refreshed outlook based on their courses this weekend. We will miss them in their absence, but are extremely grateful for them and excited about their journey over the next few days!


Greetings to everyone from Mexico

We're enjoying out time in the sun and soaking up the warmth. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone and starting new classes. Wishing everyone a happy 2017! Remember to keep breathing. See you soon!


Joan Buna pilates in Mexico    Joan and Arienne at the beach
pilates in mexico
Pilates instruction in Mexico
Seasonal Hours  


We're open regular hours until December 24.
Dr. Buna and Joan will be on holidays December 25 to January 8.  Regular office hours start January 9, 2017.
Morgan will be at the office during the holidays for those wishing to register for Pilates classes in the New Year. So feel free to pop in if you're wanting to get yourself a spot! 


Joan Buna, Pilates Coach and Personal TrainerFrom Joan

The importance of listening to your internal compass

Walk 10,000 steps per day” “Condition your heart” “Drink water” “Boot camp is best for body fitness” “Crossfit is the only way“Dance with the stars to lose weight and stay fit

In our culture, we are ceaselessly bombarded with information and images of perfection. This background noise may prevent us from hearing and following our internal compass of intention, setting realistic goals and achieving successes.

It is intention that creates our reality and our real goals and successes.

Intention: Finding the movement practice that most resonates with YOU.

Regardless of whether your intention is to strengthen, increase flexibility, improve balance, live pain-free, prehabilitation, rehabilitation, increase cardiovascular capactiy, or to improve the quality of your activities and sports.

We make it our goal at Health 4 Life Pilates and Chiropractic to support you to the full experience of your movement potential, and guide you as you listen to your internal compass and journey towards your very best health.

Joan pilates From Joan

Common questions that students ask at Pilates classes

Over the years I've noticed that new and returning students ask me the following questions. I hope that by sharing this information with you now, that you will be better able to "fit in fitness." I also acknowledge that every new pilates student has their own unique questions to ask - so please do ask us - it's all part of your learning!

What can I do if I am unable to make a class due to holidays or illness?

Contact the office for makeup options

I have an injury/I am doing rehabilitation work for an injury. Can I take Pilates?

Welcome back to Pilates classes and Health4Life

czech pilates

Hello, and welcome to new Pilates students. I look forward to meeting you and working with you.

With a beautiful spring and early summer now behind us, we are moving into late summer and early fall. Everyone is starting to settle back into a routine.

Fall Classes are an important and successful way of realigning your body and loosening tight muscles after summertime activities.

The first classes in September will be aimed at slowly working out the knots and limbering the joints and muscles. WHY? To prevent injuries “Prehab not Rehab

In October and November classes, be ready to increase the pace! We will be using weights and elastic resistance bands to help increase joint mobility and muscle tone.

See you soon!

Keep breathing

Joan and Arienne

Pilates Studio Hours

09:00 - 17:30
08:00 - 17:30
08:00 - 17:30
08:00 - 18:00
08:00 - 17:30
10:00 - 14:00