Below is an excerpt from the Sunday Business Post “Focus On: Business in the Midlands” September 16th 2018 edition.
Paving a path for Health and Wellness in the Midlands
When Olive Keyes set up a mobile Pilates practice in the Midlands over two years ago, she knew it would be popular. The science behind the exercise programme is all about control, deep abdominal muscle work and taking the mind and body into each movement and it had previously helped her overcome her own health problems with chronic pain.
‘Pilates Olive Keyes’ has now grown into a substantial practice as more and more companies and workplaces embrace the need for regular exercise and relaxation among its workforce.
Keyes, said the business started as a rehabilitative programme, from here it grew organically, with an emphasis on helping people overcome injuries or painful conditions by incorporating Pilates into their weekly routines.
“I deliver health and wellness packages in Athlone and the surrounding areas of Ballinasloe, Roscommon and Tubber in Offaly,” she said. “I operate in a market with an ever-increasing demand for health and wellness, where Pilates is continuing to grow and is now recognised as having many health benefits for preventative ill health, rehabilitation and ergonomics. This is especially so in the workplace which I discovered while doing a Masters in Heath Science. We researched health workplace environments and the importance of having such a service in place. Research would suggest that healthy supportive work environments make for a more productive workforce, which is good for economics and the wellbeing of staff.”
Keyes’s business expansion owes much of its success to a more open-minded approach from companies towards their employees mental and physical health. Since setting up, she has been enlisted by the Irish Wheelchair Association, sectors within the Health Service Executive, and several private companies to teach classes.
She is also uniquely placed as a freelance Pilates instructor in the Midlands but also as the only Pilates instructor in the region to be recognised as a ‘Wellness Expert’ with Laya, a leading health care provider in Ireland.
“I absolutely love what I do and being able to travel around to deliver Pilates programs means I can cater for Athlone and surrounding towns and counties,” she said. “There is a huge demand for Olive Keyes specific Pilates in the region because it offers a holistic, rewarding and alternative exercise regime.”
Her own past health problems, a spinal injury, led her to discover Pilates. Keyes had always been an active athlete having participated in Pentathlons, Triathlons, Half Marathons and 10Ks, both nationally and internationally. Pilates offered respite for less serious injuries but the improvements it made to her spinal injury convinced her to train and become an expert in the field.
“My own training and ongoing professional development mean I’m a fully qualified and certified Pilates instructor from the Balanced Body Faculty and Pilates Performance Ireland,” she said.
The word has spread about Keyes’s professionalism, qualifications and expertise in the area and was selected as a finalist with the Athlone Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2018. She took home the coveted ‘Best in Health and Fitness in the Westmeath Style Awards 2017’. It was an accolade that boosted both her business and ambition to take her Pilates exercises to even more people.
“I was so thrilled to be nominated but to win was the culmination of working hard for my dream to bring Pilates Olive Keyes specific teaching to the region,” she said. “My website is very simple and easy to use, it is always updated and draws so many people to me and the feedback from current and past clients has been so overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. If I could say one thing to people thinking about setting up their own business, that’s to go for it, when they know it is what they want to do more than anything else and how it can have a positive impact on themselves and those around them.”
To find out more about Pilates, from Beginners to Experienced level, go to www.pilatesolivekeyes.com