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.
15. Pilates is Easy on the Joints
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.
14. Pilates Strengthens the Muscles of the Back
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.
13. Pilates Training Can Reduce Falls Due to Increased Stability and Balance
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.
12. Pilates Increases Strength Without Lifting Weights
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.
11. Pilates Helps Older Adults Stay More Flexible
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.
10. Pilates is Calming and Soothing
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.
9. Pilates Can Help Restore Movement to Those Who Have Had Strokes
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.
8. Pilates is Less Likely Than Other Exercises to Cause Injuries
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.
7. Pilates Slowly Increases in Difficulty
When you are sedentary due to an injury or illness, your muscles can quickly atrophy. However, the only way to get your strength back is to exercise. For many seniors, the gradual increase of difficulty that a well-designed Pilates regimen can bring will be perfect to help them regain their strength without re-injuring themselves.
6. Pilates Helps Those With Joint Replacements Rehabilitate After Surgery
Many who have knee or hip replacement surgery have lived with chronic joint pain for years. For those years, they have probably compensated for the pain by altering their bodies’ natural movements. Pilates exercises can help people after joint replacements by realigning their bodies to restore natural movements and rhythms.
5. Many Pilates Exercises Are Done In a Sitting or Prone Position
While some seniors may struggle to perform a Pilates mat workout because of the difficulties of getting up and down from the floor, many Pilates exercises can be done while lying down in bed or sitting in a chair. This makes them perfect for wheelchair-bound people or those in a hospital bed who may lose muscle tone if they can’t find an appropriate form of exercise.
4. Arthritis Sufferers Can Realize Increased Flexibility In the Joints
Arthritis sufferers may shy away from many forms of exercise due to their chronic joint pain and stiffness. Pilates strengthens the muscles around the joints, increases the circulation, increases flexibility, and creates stability. All of these things help heal and increase flexibility in damaged, arthritic joints in seniors.
3. Pilates Can Be Done At Home With Very Little Equipment
Some seniors may not drive or may not want to go out in rainy or snowy weather. However, with Pilates, they can still get in a workout from home with Pilates books and DVDs. Most Pilates exercises can be done at home with nothing more than a yoga mat.
2. Pilates Increases Circulation, Helping Seniors at Risk for Blood Clots and Diabetics
Pilates, with its deep breathing exercises and gentle stretching and moving, increases the circulation for those who do it. Those who are at risk for blood clots and diabetics who struggle with circulation issues will benefit greatly from Pilates. Additionally, soreness upon waking can be diminished by doing a few Pilates moves as the blood gets flowing, moving lactic acid from the muscles.
1. Pilates Strengthens The Pelvic Floor
As women get older, their pelvic floor muscles can get weak, leading to increased urinary tract infections, painful sex, and urinary incontinence. The muscles of the pelvic floor cradle the organs of the lower abdomen, and when they are weak, all of the weight of those organs pressing downward can affect the rectum, urethra, bladder, and vagina. Pilates is a wonderful, simple way to strengthen these muscles and avoid these embarrassing and painful health issues.