Janet’s Pilates classes can help women tackle taboo

Janet Whitwood at her studio.
Janet Whitwood at her studio.
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A Pilates instructor is tackling women’s problematic pelvic floor muscles with her new Sunderland classes.

Janet Whitwood, owner of Sunderland Pilates Studio, says she is trying to break the taboo associated with this area of health and fitness.

By researching techniques to strengthen women’s pelvic floor muscles, she says she’s created a workshop for clients who have suffered prolapses, stress incontinence or other issues after having a baby.

“People should not be wetting themselves when they laugh, cough or jump up and down, but women put up with it and they don’t have to,” she said.

“If you are not using a muscle in your body it doesn’t function properly, but by engaging the pelvic floor muscle through several different exercise positions you can work it without even realising.”

Former dancer Janet hosts about 25 classes a week at the studio in Grange Terrace, near the city centre.

The businesswoman draws upon her years of experience as a dancer which has seen her appear in TV drama Spender starring Jimmy Nail, as well as in a pop video with Duran Duran guitarist, Andy Taylor.

The 46-year-old, from Washington, said: “I always wanted to be a dancer. I loved ballet and contemporary when I was growing up and I successfully auditioned for a touring company when I was 18.

“I was lucky enough to spend the next five years performing around the Far East, which was amazing.

“Health and fitness have always been a very important part of my life, at 16 I taught my first aerobics class when the fitness craze was just taking off.

“I discovered Pilates about 10 years ago.”