Pilates for Older Adults

Getting older doesn’t mean you need to stop exercising – in fact the opposite is true.

Exercise is key to remaining healthy and active as we age, and Pilates is a great exercise program for older adults. At Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, we offer a variety of Pilates and other fitness and training programs. Contact us today to learn more.

The publication Mature Resources recently reported on how older adults are turning to Pilates to keep their bodies and minds as fit as possible.

Why Pilates?

Pilates is a great exercise for older adults because it’s low impact, which means it’s easier on the joints, which can be problematic areas for many older people who exercise. Pilates also helps people focus on proper breathing and movement, rather than repetitive movements.

Traditional workouts often focus on the number of repetitions you can do and the amount of weight you can lift. This approach can lead to muscle bulk, but that can lead to an increased risk of muscle injury, especially in older folks.

Pilates focuses on the body’s core while elongating and strengthening muscles. This improves mobility and elasticity of the joints. It’s a solid fitness approach – but one that is much easier on the aging body, which often is not as well equipped to handle more rigorous exercise routines.

Pilates is great for older adults because it addresses all the body’s muscle groups – weak and strong. And the stronger and more flexible you become, the less likely you are to fall – a major concern for older people, especially those who live by themselves.

Pilates also can improve posture while you walk, your balance and your gait speed.

As we get older, we often stress our hip flexors when we walk. When this occurs, falls can happen. Pilates promotes strong abdominal muscles that are essential for the body to function as a single unit.

Every movement, including walking, should be started by stabilizing the body’s core, which calls for contracting stomach muscles.

The goal is to align your body so your spine is stable and abdominal muscles become engaged. Limbs should be active, feet mobile and breathing conscious and regular. This approach will help you gain a more relaxed and fluid gait while you walk. Your speed also should improve.

Many older people walk by taking narrow and constricted steps as they propel themselves forward. Reaching and stretching forward is the better way to walk, and Pilates can help older adults improve their gait.

Pilates workouts can be tailored for older people. At Zero Gravity Fitness, we work with clients individually to ensure their Pilates and other workouts are the right ones for them.

Modifications for older adults can be made as well. Using pillows to support your head when lying on your back is an option, as is using a pillow under your pelvis when lying on your stomach to ease neck and back pain.

Getting older doesn’t mean you have to quit working out. But you may want to change your approach and give Pilates a try. It’s never too late to start!