Movement is Key

As a Pilates instructor I always try to spread the word about how important movement is for the human body. Recently, the importance of this has again been underlined for me.

Dad's leg with rodAt the end of June, 2014 I got a call to say that my 75 year old father, who was in Portugal, had fallen and fractured his left leg in two places and his arm as well. Not the most pleasant of calls as you can imagine. His doctors planned to operate on his leg to pin it. It took two days for the operation to be scheduled as the hospital was so busy.

When they did operate they inserted a 15 inch metal rod, under epidural, down Dad’s left femur (thigh bone). It’s a pretty neat job – and bomb proof apparently. His arm had a clean break and all that needed to immobilise it in a sling as it healed. He stayed in the hospital for another 5 days to recover and then we were told they needed the bed back.

So I flew to Faro to help Mum for a week, to get him discharged and back to their villa. That took hours but we got there eventually, after organising a rented wheelchair and a disabled taxi for transport.

A local GP advised Dad to sit and not move around too much, in case he fell again. That of course is like a red rag to a bull for a movement teacher. Sitting? Is better? I don’t think so. But of course, I’m not a doctor, so this needed to be checked out.

I’m fortunate to have a great referral network of excellent physiotherapists that we work with in the studio. So I rang around and was advised that getting him moving was indeed the best option.

Steph's DadSo little by little, day by day, we added basic exercises, glute bridges, leg lifts etc to get the blood pumping and his body moving. We found a local orthopaedic shop and bought Dad a crutch that he could use with his good arm. He was diligent about doing the exercises morning and night and made great progress. Over the course of a week he was up and walking with his crutch. At that stage his lower back was giving out from all the sitting so he was glad to get moving.

That was the last week in June.

It’s now the the last week in September. My parents flew back to Portugal at the start of the month. Dad no longer needs a crutch and is walking unaided. He’s still doing his exercises and his arm is getting stronger – he’s even been assembling flat pack furniture. He’s also back driving.

Pretty good for a 75 year old eh? Did I tell you I have good genes? (Apart from the osteoporosis of course). In fact, he recently celebrated his 80th birthday and is planning a party with friends in Portugal this summer (2021).

So my point is this – movement is key. Keep it going and you will keep going. Simple as that.
Let us know your own experiences recovering from injury and if movement helped you.


  • Always check in with your healthcare professionals prior to starting a new exercise program. But remember as we age, we need to do more, not less!
  • If you are exercising be sure to tell your teacher if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia in advance. An individualised program may be the most appropriate place to start. You can book an Initial Assessment with us via our online booking system.
  • Osteoporosis does not just affect little old ladies – myself and Dad are proof of that! Book a DXA scan to check your bone density.
  • If you have an apartment / house abroad, register with a local GP. You just never know when you might need it – better now than in an emergency situation
  • Apply for an E111 card from the HSE (it’s free!). Bring it when you travel within Europe.
  • Check what your health insurance covers you for, e.g. if you are only covered for private hospitals and an ambulance takes you to a public hospital then you may not be covered.