Our “50-Plus Crowd” Loves Pilates!

Due to advances in modern medicine, people are living longer. As a result, they commonly experience age-related issues such as loss of balance, decrease in flexibility, back and joint pain and osteoporosis. Whether you are young, senior or just young at heart, Pilates is a form of exercise that can help alleviate and improve these age-related conditions.

Pilates is a unique form of exercise that stimulates the mind and body together.  Pilates emphasizes quality, intentional movement.  It is often referred to as intelligent exercise because of its thoughtful, mind body approach.  By focusing on correct spinal, postural and pelvic alignment, you will get stronger and more functional in your movement patterns.  By using Pilates breathing and developing deep core strength and enhanced body awareness, Pilates will help you look, feel and function better.

As we age, muscle tone and posture declines and the body functions less optimally.  Our goal, especially when working with the “over 50-crowd” is to look at strength, flexibility and postural changes and use Pilates to help you create a more flexible, functional, streamlined and strong body.

There are so many benefits of Pilates, including:

  • Flexibility: Pilates safely promotes flexibility and increases range of motion. This helps reduce injury from shortened, overly tight muscles.
  • Strength and Tone: Pilates improves muscular strength and tone without increasing bulk. Strong muscles help the body avoid injury as well as help you continue to perform everyday tasks like walking, vacuuming or getting up from a seated position.
  • Function of Joints: By improving strength and flexibility your joint alignment improves thereby improving the overall function of the body. This helps you feel younger and stay more active.
  • Body Awareness: Pilates helps you relax, be present and be mindful. Being aware of your movement can improve coordination and balance.

In a long-term study on the Positive Effects of Pilates on Aging, researchers from the School of Human Life Science, University of Tasmania in Australia, determined that Pilates exercise reduced physical fall risk. Postural sway, dynamic balance, and function improvements were improved for the seniors who continued participation in Pilates.

Reducing falls and improving balance is so important for seniors considering falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions.

By making life changes, like practicing Pilates, seniors were able to improve their fall risk and remain self-sufficient longer.  While Pilates can seem relatively easy to learn, it is important to find a trained instructor who can guide you in the proper technique. This will reduce your risk of injury while providing a good foundation in the basic principles of Pilates.

At Pilates Northwest, we offer private and small group lessons using quality commercial Pilates equipment.  We welcome everyone.  We have extensive experience with:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Forward head posture
  • Hip and knee replacements
  • Osteoporosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Injury recovery
  • The aging population
  • The aging athlete
  • Men and Pilates

We tailor and modify your program to fit your specific needs. All our instructors are fully certified, professional and friendly.  Come see the difference of having a quality instructor with advanced education can make.

Sources:

  1. J Aging Phys Act. 2014 Jul;22(3):342-7. doi: 10.1123/japa.2013-0006. Epub 2013 Aug 6. Positive long-term effects of Pilates exercise on the aged-related decline in balance and strength in older, community-dwelling men and women. Bird ML1Fell J.
  2. Is Pilates Good Exercise for Seniors? https://www.verywell.com/is-pilates-good-exercise-for-seniors-2704632
  3. Here are the Health Benefits of Pilates http://time.com/4676903/pilates-benefits-workout/
  4. The Body Benefits of Pilates https://www.worldhealth.net/news/body-benefits-pilates/

How can Pilates help as you age?

With age, bodily functions change. There is typically a decrease in muscle mass and the nervous system and muscular systems function less optimally. The heart rate can decline with age along with the ability to take in and use oxygen.

These changes, along with hormonal changes, can lead to a reduction in metabolism, the degree at which the resting body uses fat and other sources to make fuel. Body fat can increase.

Pilates is a safe fitness practice that can help counter many of the negative effects of aging. By improving the body’s function, Pilates helps you maintain a good quality of life and the ability to perform daily activities.

This is accomplished by improvements in the following areas:

  • Flexibility: Pilates promotes flexibility and increases range of motion. This helps reduce injury from shortened, overly tight muscles. Pilates sessions incorporate safe stretching combined with resistance work.
  • Strength and Tone: Pilates improves muscular strength and tone without increasing bulk.  Practicing Pilates leads to long, lean, and strong muscles. Strong muscles help the body avoid injury and help you continue to perform everyday tasks like lifting and carrying objects, vacuuming, and getting up from a seated position.
  • Function of Joints: Strength and flexibility with Pilates are paired with joint alignment to better the overall function of the body. This helps function and fitness and helps you stay younger feeling and more active for a longer period of time. Functional joints with strong, supple muscles helps decrease the chance for injury due to overuse and accidents.
  • Body Awareness: Pilates helps you relax, be present and be mindful. Being aware of how you move and where the joints and limbs are in space offers benefits in improved coordination and balance.

At Pilates Northwest, we call our seniors “The Over-60 Crowd”. They are dedicated, strong and young for their age. They move well – better than when they started – and feel rejuvenation after their sessions.