Pilates is a great exercise for people of all ages. However, it is particularly good for older adults who may shy away from intense, heart-pounding forms of fitness. Whether you have exercised your entire life or you are relatively sedentary, Pilates has great benefits for the aging body. As you age, stay fit, trim, and active by including regular exercise like Pilates in your life.
As the human body ages, the cushioning cartilage in the joints begins to break down. This can lead to stiff and sore knees, elbows, and hips, especially after intense physical activity. Pilates is appealing to seniors because it is extremely easy on the joints since there is no bouncing around during a Pilates session.
Often a painful back injury can come from something relatively minor, like reaching for an object on a high shelf or twisting awkwardly to put on a seat belt in the car. The core muscles of the body are a main focus of each Pilates workout. Strengthening the muscles of the back and the abdominals will help seniors avoid pulling muscles in their backs during their day to day activities.
One of the greatest fears of many older adults is to have a bad fall and break a bone or to fall and be alone at home, unable to get back up. Because Pilates helps to develop a person’s balance, strength, and coordination, it can help prevent falls in seniors. Seniors who practice Pilates will be more surefooted and aware of how their bodies are moving in the environment, making them less likely to stumble or trip.
While Pilates is a good overall form of exercise, it is also a form of strength training. The unusual part, though, is that Pilates uses the body’s own weight as resistance. Some seniors may be unable to lift even the lightest weights at the gym, but Pilates can gradually increase their strength and build their muscle mass.
Many conventional workouts end up building shorter, bulkier muscles in older adults. However, the whole focus of Pilates is creating long, lean, flexible muscles. These muscles are less likely to be injured than shorter, more inflexible muscles. Pilates also gently increases the range of movement in people who have arthritis or other joint problems.
Much of a Pilates workout is focused on slow, deep breathing. For this reason, many people find Pilates to be a soothing, relaxing form of exercise. For older adults who may have trouble sleeping, a gentle Pilates workout in the hour before bed might be just the thing to help them unwind at the end of the day.
People who have had a stroke must try to get their limbs working as soon as possible. If they don’t, the nerve damage may be irreversible, and they may never regain the full use of both sides of their bodies. Pilates can be the perfect way to rehabilitate those who have had strokes because of the coordination of movement that many Pilates exercises require.
Many seniors feel that they are past the days of jumping around with an aerobics class. While many older adults enjoy being active and exercising, they know that their muscles and bones are a bit more fragile than they used to be. When seniors take a class with an instructor who is knowledgeable about the specific problems that seniors may face, they can do Pilates without worrying about an injury.