Pilates: Tailored Exercise for Seniors

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How do you experience the best senior living possible? By feeling alive and having energy to be productive all day long of course! How do you give your body every chance to stay healthy and enable yourself to fulfill all your goals and aspirations for retirement? By doing pilates exercise of course! Your body is you: where all your movement habits, movement patterns, and muscle “memories” are stored. If you wish to physically express yourself well and without pain, or if you wish to correct a poor movement pattern and strengthen weaker muscles, you had better take care of the mechanism (your body!) that allows you to move.

To take care of your body well it is imperative that you choose the right kind, as well as do the proper amount of exercise for your specific goals. Pilates strikes the correct balance between these two objectives.

Nearly 30% of my studio’s clientele are seniors, and close to 70% of the overall studio clientele is over the age of 50.

Pilates exercise is fast on the rise with seniors and baby boomers with good reason: it targets the correct muscles, it is fulfilling to do, and it’s fun. Simply put, it works.

Pilates is tailored to you.

Pilates training is ideal exercise for seniors looking to maintain and even augment the amount of physical activity they have in their lives. Pilates is non impact exercise that strengthens the core muscles in the pelvis and the spine. Pilates training will lengthen your spine, condition your abdominal muscles and help you develop better posture; the method teaches you to be more conscious of how you move, and therefore to move more efficiently-with less and wear and tear on your joints-as you go about your daily activities. In addition, a pilates workout will carefully move all joints of the body, including your hands and feet, teaching your muscles to work as efficiently as possible. Once you have “found” your core muscles, and have put them on continuous “alert”, your joints move better and your whole quality of life improves!

Pilates gives you more energy.

Immediately you have more energy. Your body, better aligned, feels like moving more, and is not exhausted from being misaligned and practicing poor posture all day. Superior alignment: how your bones, muscles and vital organs are intended to be aligned as a whole promotes greater energy levels. Respiration is better, because the rib cage is better aligned and not compressing on the lungs so you breath more fully. Nervous system function is improved, since the nerve impulses are flowing up and down your spine more efficiently due to your lengthened spine. Overall result? Your breathing capacity, muscle function, and how well you are attuned to your body functioning through the day is improved. Your pilates exercise routine is best facilitating your moment to moment physical functioning through the day.

Pilates is fun! (you won’t stick with something you don’t like).

Come on, you want to look forward to your workouts, not dread them! In a pilates class you are constantly seeking to move your body as efficiently and as gracefully as possible.You are learning to balance and control your body, thereby your powers of focus, and concentration on the task at hand improve significantly. You are doing sensible exercises that will help you with your daily activities, such as lifting grocery bags, getting in and out of your car, and raising and lowering your body as you look after your lawn and garden. You are not lifting heavy weights, nor getting into extreme poses; a pilates workout leaves you standing tall with great posture, not beat up and barely able to stand!

And of course, preserving your body with pilates allows you to enjoy all your social activities to the max! Your golf swing, tennis strokes, social dancing, swimming, skiing, hiking, horseback riding, did I say walking? All will become more doable and enjoyable by doing pilates.

Kerin Smith