Arthro-Pilates and Lupus



Who is Lori Weisbrod?

I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis at the age of 18, at which time I was put in a hospital for a month and told I would be in a wheelchair within 10 years. It was devastating to think of that as my future. Thankfully, the wheelchair prediction never materialized but it took me a long time to wrap my mind around dealing with a disability and with changes in my body physically.

To date, I have had 18 operations to correct the damage done by the progressive illness. Originally a make-up artist, I had to give up a successful career due to changes in my hands and became a writer.

I knew I had to find a way to stay fit despite my arthritis and found Pilates in the year 2000. Being able to lose weight and tone up, and without harming my body, I knew I had found the answer.

In September of 2006, I obtained my certification in “mat pilates” and created a new form of pilates; called Arthro-Pilates™ which I now teach to others in similar situations, looking to maintain a state of fitness throughout their lives.

In addition to teaching pilates, I also act as a mentor to newly diagnosed patients with arthritis in conjunction with The University Health Network (Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto).

I also work with Toronto Western Hospital as a member of the Rheumatology division patient advisory committee in association with researchers and professionals in the field to create better outcomes for arthritis patients around the globe.


Why I developed Arthro-Pilates

Fitness is For Everyone…No matter What your limitation
From the column “Notes From A Weisbrod"


“You have arthritis!”
The doctor looked me squarely in the face as he gave me my diagnosis. It was 1978, and at the time, I had no idea of the magnitude of his statement or the impact that those three little words would ultimately have on my life. At eighteen, this was the last thing I expected. Little did I know that my world and my body, were about to change forever.

The days, the weeks and the years that followed were grueling to say the least. Pain became the order of the day, and controlling that pain became my mission. Most of my time was spent in bed or in doctor’s offices looking for some relief. “Disability” became a familiar word as I slowly watched my physique change before my very eyes. Changes in my feet and hands prevailed, a trademark side effect of arthritis and an unpleasant reminder of my illness. This, combined with increasing weakness, and I frequently wondered what my future would hold.

Fast track to the year 2000, it was the new millennium and I was about to undergo my 11th operation to correct damage that had occurred. I was now 40, and I knew in my heart, that if I didn’t take some control over my body, it would continue to take control over me.

But how? I was completely out of shape, and my muscles had atrophied due to lack of exercise over the last twenty years. The medical establishment never told me that I should even try to get fit, and so I just gave up on the idea all together. After all, fitness was for healthy people in spandex with great hair, not for someone with a severe chronic and debilitating disease. Or so I thought.

Throwing caution to the wind and with the approval of my doctor, I decided to give it a try! Over the years I had made friends with many women and men who were given the same diagnosis as me, and it was understood amongst my fellow sufferers that the most we could ever hope to do were light range of motion exercises in a heated pool. I had tried these before, and while it was mildly effective in keeping my joints warm, it certainly never helped to get me in the physical shape, I was now looking for..

That’s when I found Pilates. This is a form of exercise and physical movement that was invented by Joseph Pilates in 1914. A boxer, a performer and a nurse, he developed this method to rehabilitate his patients, and that was designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body while improving flexibility at the same time. The slow “matwork” was perfect for times when I was barely able to move at all.

Today, at age 58, and despite my disabilities and disease, I am probably in the best shape of my life. I have gone from a size 12 to a size 4, I am toned, and in all modesty, my body looks better than most healthy people my age. I can say that with confidence, because I’ve earned the right to say it! But more importantly than how I look, I feel fantastic. Even though my arthritis is just as severe as ever, becoming physically fit has made my daily challenges, something I can now tolerate, both physically and emotionally. Keeping fit has not only strengthened my body but it has strengthened my mind. This year I went through my 18th operation, but because of my acquired physical fitness, I sailed through recovery..

It’s all about respecting your body, understanding your limitations, and recognizing the importance of physical fitness for all and resolving to be consistent in your fitness quest. It turns out that physical fitness is not just for people who are healthy. Physical fitness is for everyone!

This is why I developed Arthro-Pilates™.



Lori Weisbrod


arthro-pilates: pilates for every body

Lori Weisbrod's Arthro-Pilates™
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