Thinking about my 80 year old mother who has being doing Pilates for over 10 years and comparing how agile, strong and upright she is to her friends, it made me realise that there is little doubt that for the older population moving and keeping fit is essential. But sadly so many forms of exercise are just too hard on the bodies of the older adult. That is why Pilates is the perfect form of exercise for this generation. With the focus on control and quality of movement not quantity, Pilates is one of the best ways for older adults to stay fit and healthy.
Known for its safe and gentle approach, Pilates is an ideal way for the older adult to resume or start a workout program. Most conventional workouts tend to place stress and strain on older joints but Pilates focuses on building a strong core; not only the deep abdominals but also those muscles closest to the spine which provide not only stability but also support for a healthy posture.
Pilates centres on developing movements at the mid-range of the body and gradually works to the end-range while maintaining complete control around the joints. To the benefit of older adults, Pilates teaches control and stability in a small range of motion, graduating to a larger range of motion as they gain control and confidence. This is crucial for the older adult as it improves all areas of their lives but most importantly posture and balance. As they progress on their Pilates journey, flexibility, range of movement and strength increases which positively affect balance, posture and confidence helping to reduce the risk of falls.
Pilates also helps with many age related ailments which has to be a good thing. Just to name a few, arthritis sufferers benefit as Pilates is gentle yet keeps them moving. For sufferers of osteoporosis Pilates can help with weight bearing and bone density increasing exercises. For stiff and inflexible feet, Pilates works on keeping them as strong and as agile as possible. And as mentioned previously, balance and posture greatly improve through Pilates.
Whilst there are many and varied physical benefits there is also the social benefit. Coming to a class and interacting with other people of all ages is of huge value making the elderly adult feel a part of the community.
Once again it is important to choose a studio that is safe and an appropriate environment for the older adult, where the class sizes are small and the senior is being taught by a certified and well educated instructor. Perhaps you may know an older adult, just like my 80 year old mother, who would benefit from the magic of Pilates? Contact us to find out more – we’d love to hear from you!