The older we get the more essential it is to keep fit but many forms of exercise can be too hard on the aging body.
Pilates with its focus on quality of movement, not quantity of repetitions, can be one of the best ways for the older adult to stay healthy.
Pilates does not have the impact on the body that other forms of exercise do, and is not nearly as severe on the joints as most workouts are, so is perfect for us as we get older.
It is a gentle way to exercise for the older adult who hasn’t exercised in a while.
Pilates focuses on building a strong core. These are the deep abdominal muscles and the muscles closest to the spine.
Exercises are performed laid down or in a seated position, and are low impact and partially weight-bearing.
Pilates, teaches control and stability in a small range of motion, building up to a larger range of motion as you gain more control and confidence.
Increased control and stability is essential as we age as it can help improve functional movement, including balance and posture. As we get older, we can lose some of our balance and coordination.
Pilates can increases strength and flexibility in both the core and the legs, which will improve balance. This, along with basic fitness benefits, can help reduce the risk of falls.
Pilates is also a good way to rehab from operations such as replacement hip or knee .
Pilates can help with a variety of age-related illness. Arthritis sufferers can benefit because the gentle movements lessen the likelihood of joints jarring whilst keeping a good range of motion around them.
Pilates can also help sufferers of Osteoporosis or Stenosis. For Osteoporosis the simple and standing Pilates leg exercises can increase bone density in both the spine and the hip. For Lumbar Stenosis there are exercises that can stretch out tight back muscles and strengthen the Extensor muscles of the spine.
If you have either of these conditions it is important that you make sure your Pilates instructor knows how to modify the exercises so that you do not hurt yourself.
Pilates may also be beneficial for those who suffer with diseases such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. Helping to overcome rigidity and become more flexible. It can even help with brain traumas like a stroke.
The sooner people with brain damage or a stroke can start balance exercises with Pilates and get their bodies moving, the better their overall outcome will be.
It is essential to consult your doctor before you start any exercise programme.