Pilates is one of my personal favorite exercise routines, and it can be done by children, adults, and even elderly individuals.
Seniors will benefit particularly from doing Pilates exercises as it greatly improves their balance and flexibility and allows them to focus their breathing in specific areas of the body to improve circulation and relaxation.
Because Pilates is such a gentle and low-intensity form of exercise, it can be performed by anyone at any age or stage of life. You can also modify the routines to suit your personal requirements and capabilities,
What exactly is Pilates
Pilates is a very specific physical exercise system that was devised by a German anatomist, and his name was Joseph. The program was designed in the early 20th century. It used very specific targeted exercises to improve your strength, flexibility, as well as your posture by, in turn, focusing mainly on your core and increasing the strength of the core of your body.
Pilates only requires small movements and will focus on various parts of the body. However, Pilates is a type of exercise that needs to be performed regularly, even for short periods of time.
Benefits of Pilates for Seniors
Pilates holds many benefits for seniors and other age groups. It is safe and gentle, as well as easy for seniors to follow;
- Increased Balance and Stability. Because Pilates centers of movements in the mid-section of the body, instead of just your extremities, such s the arms and legs, there are fewer chances of injury. Pilates develops in your mid-section and then gently works towards an end range to target other areas. Pilates teaches control and stability, which can greatly benefit senior adults.
- Great for Many Ailments – Pilates can help with a range of age-related ailments and conditions. Seniors with arthritis will enjoy the gentle mid-range movements that improve joint strength and mobility. For Osteoporosis, Pilates can help to improve bone density with simple leg and standing routines. The routines are ideal for lumbar stenosis as they stretch your back muscles out and strengthen the extensor muscles of the spine to counteract the forces of gravity, which pull you into a hunched position. Pilates has also been proven to slow down diseases such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis in seniors. The movements help to overcome rigidity and allow you to become more limber.
- Helps Prevent Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is basically when the structure of your bones becomes weakened, making them more fragile and prone to breaking. Pilates is an excellent form of exercise to improve bone density, and however, when you already have the condition, it is advised to perform Pilates with caution, or rather avoid this form of exercise.
- Improves Your Posture, Stability, and Mobility – Your posture becomes more rounded as your age which can compress and change the shape of your spine, which may lead to impingement at the shoulder joints, which makes it difficult to lift your arms. Reaching up may become difficult, if not impossible. Pilates exercises that help with this issue by improving your posture and the mobility of the joints in your shoulders.
- Better Breathing and Circulation – Breathing becomes more labored as we age as the muscle responsible for breathing weaken, and our rib cage becomes more stiff. A lack of oxygen results, which in turn can contribute to feeling dizzy and confused. The specific breathing technique that is used in Pilates routines helps t lengthen tight ribcages and to strengthen the muscles that are responsible for breathing for a more efficient respiratory system.
- Better Balance – Falls are very common amongst older adults and one of the main causes of injury, Many times, falls are because of a lack of balance in seniors. Seniors may lose their confidence when they can no longer walk or stand on their own and keep a proper balance. Pilates helps to improve both your coordination and your balance.
- Improves Your Strength and Flexibility – As we age, muscular strength decreases drastically, and it has been said that by the age of 30 to 50, your muscular strength will decrease by 30%. Losing muscular strength affects your ability to walk, climb and perform other daily tasks, especially in seniors. It can cause early fatigue and can also increase your risk for diseases. Pilates can help to strengthen your muscles and keep them much more flexible.
Pilates Exercises for Seniors
Before you start with any Pilates routine, always first consult a physician, especially if you have certain ailments or weaknesses. You may have to adapt some of the movements and routines to suit your physical needs and capabilities.
You need to Taylor your Pilates programs to reach your personal goals and your capabilities physically.
Never exert yourself over your limit. Pilates routines should never cause pain. Pain is an indication that something is wrong and that you should stop immediately.
Pilates exercises focus very much on your breathing, so always remember to use the breathing methods throughout the entire routine. The routines need to be relaxing and comfortable.
Below are a few videos of basic Pilates routines. There are plenty of routines that you can follow on youtube for beginners and as you advance more.
the routines are easy to follow and comfortable, suited ideally for seniors as you will see;
Floor Based Pilates
Floor Based Pilates requires that you have a soft Yoga mat or soft carpet to do them on. These are relaxed routines that improve strength and flexibility.
Standing Pilates is much easier to perform, especially if you struggle to get up and down the floors. They are highly effective, and you do not require a special mat or soft surface to perform them on.
Seated Pilates allow you to enjoy these exercise in the comfort of a chair. Especially ideal for seniors that have issues with mobility in the legs.
Pilates is an excellent exercise for seniors to improve strength, flexibility, and mobility. There are many routines available, but it is important to start with the basics and gradually increase from there. You can modify some of the movements to suit your capabilities.
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