It’s important that we exercise for our health. However, exercise is not just for the young; it continues to be vital even into our senior years, maybe even more important because it can ward off a variety of ailments and keeps us energetic and flexible.
Pilates is great for seniors because it emphasizes the role of controlled breathing and core strength in an exercise routine. In general, it also proves to be a gentler form of exercise for the aging body and its benefits are multi-fold.
In essence, it is a safer form of exercise than many stressful workouts, results in less bodily impact, and is a great way to get back into an exercise program if one has not been experienced for some time.
Pilates focusses on the strengthening of core muscle groups over time that is flexible. Often, the Pilates exercises are performed in positions that are much easier for the senior, like sitting or lying down.
Problems That Seniors Face
Even though Pilates is considered a gentle mid-range type of exercise, it can still be a challenge for seniors to perform due to the wide range of physical illnesses they suffer. When considering beginning an exercise program, it is important that all seniors be assessed by a doctor.
Here are some of the challenges that seniors face in relation to exercise:
- Osteoporosis: This disease weakens bone and results in decreased bone density. This makes breaks and fractures a real issue
- Inflexible muscles and joints
- Poor posture due to weakened muscles and compressed joints and spinal areas
- Balance issues
- General lack of muscle strength
Pilates For Senior Ailments
Because Pilates focusses on core strength, it increases both stability and balance. This is important for seniors looking to improve their quality of life and extend their range of movement and joint control over time.
A Pilates exercise program for seniors will provide the following benefits when done correctly:
- Improved posture
- Improved and increased joint movement and flexibility
- Strengthening of core abdominal muscle groups and back
- Better co-ordination and movement control
- Improved balance and general stability when walking and standing
Since falls are one of the leading causes of injuries to seniors (one in three over the age of 65 per annum), Pilates can play a significant role in helping to mitigate the risk of it happening.
The increased core strength, balance, and stability that practitioners of Pilates have translate into a potentially increased quality of life for older people. It is also a fantastic way for seniors to rehabilitate after hip surgeries or other surgeries.
As well as reducing the risk of fall injuries, a senior Pilate’s program can have the following benefits and impacts on characteristic age-related diseases and illnesses:
- Arthritis: Pilates helps to increase joint mobility even in people with arthritis. A gentle exercise program designed for arthritis sufferers can help to increase joint movement, and help to prevent the joint from compressing.
- Osteoporosis: It’s certainly wise for an Osteoporosis sufferer to be assessed by a doctor before starting a Pilate’s program, but some of the standing Pilate’s exercises can actually help to improve general bone density in key areas of the body. It may also increase some flexibility in the back and pelvic areas.
- MS and Parkinson’s disease: The improved movement, control and mobility that Pilates provides may even assist in motor related diseases, and rehabilitation from strokes and other brain injuries.
Get Advice And Plan An Appropriate Program
When considering a Pilates program for seniors, it’s important to have each person assessed by a doctor. The program should also be structured so that it is gentle and low impact.
In general, it is also wise to use a Mat-based Pilates program rather than a Reformer program because it will provide more flexibility in designing specific programs for seniors when taking into consideration the characteristic challenges that they face.
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