Older Adults & Pilates: A Gentle, Effective Way to Get Fit

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Pilates is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the country, and everyone from athletes to A-list celebrities are singing its praises.

Essentially, Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on building core strength, flexibility and creating a sense of mindfulness that contributes to better overall movement, balance and coordination.

Principles of Pilates

Pilates is based on six guiding principles: centering, control, breath, flow, precision and concentration.

Ultimately, the goal of these principles, and Pilates as a whole, is to focus on the quality of the exercise being performed, rather than its quantity. For example, unlike traditional weight training, instead of performing numerous repetitions, you may only do a particular exercise a few times, but you concentrate on getting it right for maximum results.

Adaptable Training

Pilates is preferred by many people, from pregnant women to older adults, because aside from being effective, it’s also gentle and adaptable.

Primarily Pilates is performed on a mat or on specifically-designed equipment, but a personal trainer can create a customized Pilates program, appropriate for the unique needs of an individual.

The Importance of Exercise for Older Adults

America’s population is aging, which means more and more older adults are looking for ways to remain fit, active and healthy.

With regular physical activity, older adults can see a number of tremendous benefits, including the ability to live independently for longer, reduced risk of falls and injuries, reduced blood pressure, lower risk of chronic pain, better cardiovascular health and even improved moods and a better sense of well-being.

In fact, it’s perhaps older adults that need exercise more than any other age group.

While much is known about the benefits of exercise for older adults, it becomes challenging when you get older to find a fitness routine that you’re capable of doing, and you may also have trouble just knowing how to get started with regular exercise. For this reason, more and more older people are turning to Pilates as a way to remain fit and active.

Gentle Exercise

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons so many seniors are choosing Pilates is because it’s effective, but still gentle. Many types of exercise lead to impact on the body, and while that may be fine for a younger person, it can take a serious toll and lead to injuries for older people.

Many Pilates moves, as mentioned, are performed on a mat on the floor, and they can also be adapted to a seated position on a chair.

Also, while Pilates can be performed without specific equipment, equipment that is used; such as the Reformer, Chair, Tower, and more, provides light weight resistance that strengthens while it lengthens to regain lost flexibility and range of motion.  Some of the more challenging exercises use the lightest resistance available and rely on control of the movement and stability through the core muscles.

The Benefits

Pilates focuses on building strength in the middle, or core, of the body, as opposed to focusing only on the arms and legs. What this means for seniors is the ability to gain stability and control over your entire body, which increases your balance, coordination and range of motion.

Pilates is also ideal for seniors who have undergone surgery, such as hip or knee replacements, or who have suffered a condition such as a stroke. It’s gentle enough for these individuals, but is effective as a form of rehabilitation, both physically and mentally.

When you get older, it’s easy to look at exercise as too challenging, but Pilates is often considered the ideal way for seniors to remain strong, balanced and feel better about themselves and their abilities.

If you’re an older adult looking for a way to improve your level of fitness and overall quality of life, contact us for information about Private Fitness OC’s Pilates training including a free consultation and special introductory offer