Benefits of Pilates for Older Adults

For older adults, the body experiences a lot of changes. Keeping fit is especially important but it can be a bit difficult for them. Most turn to Pilates as a way to keep in shape as heavy weight lifting exercises may be out of their scope. Furthermore, Pilates is more about quality, controlled breathing and movement, rather than number of repetitions.

Pilates is the best antidote for older adults as it has less physical strain impact on the body as compared to other forms of exercise.

Most workout programs in the gym are severe on the joints and aim at building short, bulky muscles which at times lead to injury. Pilates focuses on the inner core’s strength, which are the abdominal muscles and muscles that are close to the spine. Most of these exercises are performed lying down or in sitting postures with spring resistance from the Pilates machines.

An old woman doing Pilate exercise help by a professional Pilate instructor

4 Key Benefits Pilates has on the Older Population

Improves Bone Density

Pilates helps improve the bone density of the elderly. In this case, osteoporosis, which is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle, is commonly experienced at old age.

Bones, just like other tissues in the body, are living structures that keep changing from time to time. The new bone is formed and the old one gets replaced. Osteoporosis develops when the speed of the new bone formation cannot keep up with the loss of bone. Elderly with osteoporosis are more prone to broken bones and fractures.

Depending on the stage of the condition, the scenario changes considerably. In case the condition already exists, some Pilates exercises are not recommended as a remedy. For example, weight bearing exercises such as forward bending and other twisting exercises, may cause the situation to get worse.

The good thing about Pilates is that you can still have your own kind of configured exercises by the help of a qualified Pilates trainer.

Improves Stability and Balance

Pilates is based on the midrange movements of the body and not the external parts. If anything, it is based on the principle of starting from within and spreading to the outside.

For seniors, Pilates mainly works for them by teaching control and stability around the joints. Increased control and stability can help older adults gain more confidence and control of their body. They often have problems with functional movement, balancing and maintaining a good posture.

Pilates works best for seniors because it improves the core strength and flexibility which automatically translates to the body gaining back coordination. It also trains the body to be balanced and helps reduce the risk of falls.

Two elderly attending a Pilates class for older adults

Improves Breathing

Breathing becomes a challenge once we age. The muscles in charge of breathing become less responsive and the rib gets stiffer.  This results in the lack of oxygen flowing in the bloodstream and therefore, dizziness and confusion. Pilates has a breathing technique that sets the tight ribcage loose and strengthens the muscles responsible for breathing and improves the respiratory system.

A Cure for Many Sicknesses

Pilates helps with a lot of age-related sicknesses. For example, people with arthritis can benefit from mid-range movements which reduces the event of joints compressing while still maintaining the extent of movement around them. For those who have lumbar stenosis, there are exercises that can help you stretch out tight back muscles and strengthen the extensor muscles of the spine to fight back gravitational forces that pull people into a hunched position.

Pilates can also slow down other diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. The exercises, through controlled motion, helps overcome rigidity and make one become limber. Furthermore, it can help prevent stroke out of brain traumas.

Pilates exercises is a mind body exercises that help one to achieve balance by moving in a symmetrical motion and eventually, gain a sense of peace within.