Jules Hardman

Improve your Balance & Flexibility with Pilates

Regardless of age keeping fit is essential. But so many forms of exercise can be hard on the bodies of older adults. Many have turned to Pilates sessions as a way to stay in shape while reducing the risk of injury that some weight-bearing exercises may cause. Pilates focus on controlled breathing and quality of movement, not quantity of repetitions.

Pilates is one of the best ways for older adults to stay healthy because it does not have the impact on the body that other forms of exercise do, and is not nearly as severe on the joints as most workouts are. If you’re an older adult and haven’t exercised in a while, Pilates is a safe way to restart a workout program.

Most conventional workouts tend to build short, bulky muscles more prone to injury–especially in the body of an older adult. Pilates focuses on building a strong “core”–the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine. Many of the exercises are performed lying on a mat or in sitting positions, and most are low impact and partially weight-bearing. It also can positively affect postural positions.

Increased Stability and Balance

Having good balance is the key to all functional movement and activities we do every day, such as walking and going up and down the stairs.

Pilates focuses on movements at the centre of the body instead of the extremities (arms and legs), where the potential for injury is greater. Pilates teaches control and stability in a small range of motion, graduating to a larger range of motion as they gain control and confidence.

Increased control and stability is crucial for older adults as it can help them improve much of their functional movement, including balance and posture. “As people get older, they can lose some of their balance and coordination. Pilates increases strength and flexibility in both the core and the legs, which positively affects balance. This, along with basic fitness benefits, can help reduce the risk of falls. Pilates is also a good way to rehab from surgical procedures like a hip replacement or knee surgery.”