So what are the benefits of Pilates for Over 60’s? Pilates is a really good form of exercise and it is especially suitable for older people. It makes no strong demands on the cardio-vascular system – and there’s no sweating! For the older population keeping fit is essential. Many studios offer classes for all ages, but our silver ages Pilates class is designed to meet the unique needs of aging bodies.
Pilates= Improved Flexibility + Core Strength = Better Posture, Balance and Stability = Less Risk of Injury
Is Pilates a good exercise for Older Adults?
Pilates is a structured, balanced approach to physical exercise, which ensures that all parts of the body – bones, joints and muscles – are given equal and appropriate attention. Find out more about the benefits of pilates for older adults and maybe try it out yourself!
Are Pilates for Elderly Exercises safe?
Many exercise programmes combine speed, large numbers of repetitions, high levels of resistance (weights) and full range of movement in order to demand rapid adaptations in both the cardio-vascular and skeleto-muscular systems. Although this approach is no doubt effective for the younger body, it carries significant risks for the older body, especially for those who perhaps haven’t exercised as much as they would have liked to.
Balance Exercises for Older Adults
Pilates is different. It focuses on the quality of movement rather than on the quantity, resistance or speed. Indeed, doing Pilates movements slowly is often MORE challenging than doing them at normal or rapid speeds. Moving slowly ensures that movements are done in a precise and controlled manner, reducing the risk of slipping from ‘challenge’ to injury. The precision of movements helps ensure that all of the muscles associated with the movement are exercised – not just the big/ major ones. This controlled and precise approach to movement reduces the risk of injury during exercise AND delivers more balanced exercise benefits to the body as a whole.
The founder of Pilates, Joseph Pilates, said that, “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. If at the age of 30 you are stiff and out of shape, you are old. If at 60 you are supple and strong then you are young.”
Breathe for Mobility
There is a strong focus on breathing correctly to ensure that the body is supplied with the optimum amount of oxygen during exercise – and that all wastes are fully exhaled. The focus on breathing provides a rhythm to exercise and helps clear the mind of distracting thoughts. It promotes body awareness, which further enhances the impact of the movements on the body’s wellbeing. Better breathing is good for everyone – but especially for older adults who may not be using their full lung capacity. As with all parts of the body after a certain age – it’ a question of ‘use it or lose it’!
Strengthen your Core
Pilates is famously concerned with improving core strength – the central powerhouse of the body – through the structured exercise of deep and superficial abdominal and back muscles. A strong core provides a stable platform for the movements of the extremities, improving the quality of movements and reducing the risk of injury. A strong core also protects the spine especially in the lumbar region where weak abdominals place excess strain on the lower back muscles. The prevalence of lower back pain in modern society is often linked to a core that is weakened by inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle. A strong core is especially helpful for older adults who may already be experiencing the kind of lower back pain which comes from a weakened core.
Pilates give you Better Posture
Strengthening the core as well as the overall musculature combined with enhanced body awareness helps improve posture. And improved posture makes us look better, feel better and move better. Some suggest that better posture even helps to improve confidence and self esteem! Pilates teaches how to ensure that the various parts of the body are correctly aligned, both during exercise and during everyday life. Good alignment = good posture!
Pilates Improves Flexibility
Pilates also helps maintain and improve flexibility by using sets of controlled movements of all of the major joints. Controlling the stillness of the torso with the movement of arms and/or legs exercises all of the major and minor muscles involved in the movement of the joint(s). A measured approach to exercise of the joints ensures that the range of movement is increased over time, but not in a way that risks pain or injury. Not least – there is a certain elegance to many Pilates movements. The movements are slow but precise, controlled yet fluid. Practitioners look beautiful doing Pilates!
Pilates Improves balance
And finally the combination of improved flexibility, core strength and posture helps improve balance and reaction times. A strong flexible body is much less likely to fall, or to sustain serious damage from minor accidents.
A triple whammy! Better Posture, Balance and Stability
So Pilates is an excellent form of exercise for the older body. Even the most unfit can start and all practitioners will make progress albeit to different levels and at different speeds. A stronger more flexible body will make you feel better and look better and better able to enjoy a long and active third age!
Make New Friends
One last benefit of Pilates is the opportunity to meet new people. Not only does it give us an opportunity to get out of the house. It also connects you with other people who share a similar spark for life and a desire to improve themselves.
So if you are looking for suitable exercise for over 65 years to keep fit and healthy pilates is for you!