When it comes to movement that strengthens the core and improves
balance and mobility, there’s nothing like Pilates. It’s ideally suited for the
young and old alike.
Plus, many of the exercises are done in sitting or reclined positions. And
most are only partially weight-bearing and are low-impact. As such, Pilates
for seniors is increasingly recommended for those in their later years.
The Benefits of Pilates for Seniors
For younger folks, focusing on strength, flexibility, coordination, balance,
good posture, and endurance enables them to look and feel their best while
getting the most out of their workouts.
But all of these are equally important to seniors.
As we age, functional movements we once took for granted (such as
pushing, pulling, squatting, hinging, carrying, and lunging) become more
challenging. By maintaining all of the above, seniors are able to live a more
independent lifestyle and reduce the risk of falls.
Below are six distinct ways that Pilates serves seniors.
1. Fine Tunes Body Awareness and Balance
Workouts that focus on the arms and legs have their merit. But Pilates
homes in more on movements that challenge the mid-range of the body.
This is the core and it’s where all movement originates. For fitness
enthusiasts looking to gain control over their bodies, strengthening the core
A strong core is also crucial for balance and overall body awareness – both
of which decrease with age. And as they decrease, the risk for falling or
injury increase. It’s no wonder that so many seniors lack confidence in their
ability to get around.
By doing Pilates though, seniors regularly work with functional movements
that help prepare the body for regular everyday movements. There is also a
focus on breath and mindfulness which improves self-awareness. This
leads to better a understanding of one’s surroundings and an ability to react
faster and more skillfully in situations.
And that equals fewer injuries.
2. Increases Mobility, Joint Stability, and Posture
It’s not unusual to see older people a bit hunched over. That’s because
aging causes changes in posture .
Spending time in this hunched over position leads to tight and imbalanced
muscles, strained joints, and compressed organs. Actions like climbing
stairs, walking, or picking up things off the floor become more arduous.
It may seem like a workout that focuses purely on strength would help with
this situation. But it can lead to tight and shortened muscles which become
more prone to injury.
Pilates, by contrast, focuses on strengthening the stabilizing muscles and
lengthening every muscle to improve posture and free up the joints. All of
this leads to better joint mobility, stronger more limber muscles, and
improved stability to help seniors move through life more safely and
3. Could Improve Bone Density
The change of hormones in postmenopausal women often leads to a loss
in bone density. And this is bad news because lowered bone density can
lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Numerous studies show that Pilates may improve bone density because it
utilizes resistance through springs rather than weights. This is especially
the case on the machines.
4. Improves Breathing and Circulation
Part of the focus on the core includes a mindfulness of one’s breath. But
when posture becomes challenged and a person is hunched over, it can
affect their ability to take deep breaths. The muscles responsible for this
kind of breath become atrophied and there is a noticeable lack of oxygen
circulating in the body which can lead to dizziness and even confusion.
Pilates has specific breathing techniques that focus on lengthening through
the ribcage and strengthening those muscles responsible for breathing –
thus boosting oxygen levels in the blood.
5. Boosts Immunity
As just mentioned, Pilates increases the oxygenated blood moving through
the body. It also keeps the lymph flowing. Both of these are important in
enhancing the body’s ability to detox. And the fewer the toxins and more
purified the body, the better it operates.
Because of this, it makes sense that Pilates boosts immunity. Especially
among older adults.
6. Prevents Injury
In case you didn’t pick up on it already, Pilates pays significant attention to
joint support and stability. This encourages its practitioners to move through
the rest of their lives in a way that’s mindful and aware. This deeper
connection to the body and heightened sense of proprioception equals a
decreased risk of injuries.
How many exercises can you say that about!?
You’re Never Too Old to Try Something New!
The above are just some of the reasons Pilates for seniors is so beneficial.
Another is the opportunity to try something new – which is great for
neurological health too!
Of course, if you’re a senior who’s interested in Pilates, you’ll still want to
consult your doctor first. And if s/he gives you the go-ahead, you may want
to start with some one-on-one sessions to ease into the practice.
Contact us today to see how we can get you started on your own Pilates
journey and start feeling stronger, more balanced and confident in your