Pilates for Seniors
When it comes to fitness for seniors there are many movement challenges to address, from decreased flexibility to more limiting issues such as Osteoporosis or joint replacement. Such a wide range of physical limitations can keep a Pilates instructor on their toes and often requires a bit of creativity! The use of specialized Pilates equipment, plus integrating small props, can be very useful in creating a fun, challenging, and successful experience for each individual!
At Firehaus Pilates Studio in Denver, our top 3 goals within Pilates for seniors are:
Improving balance: Many older adults have a great fear of falling or have actually fallen and injured themselves. This fear can be extremely disabling so there needs to be a sense of security, and having something to hang on to often is the place to start. When working on balance through Pilates, we often have clients holding on to a wooden dowel or a foam roller. Clients that need a modified Pilates exercise can use the prop for stability and then work towards removing the assistance. Whatever level you are starting at in Pilates, we want you to have a positive experience and be successful; reaching whatever goals you have!
Posture: Conditions such as Osteoporosis and arthritis can have lasting effects on the alignment of the spine, which can result in poor posture. We’re all familiar with the common quote from mom growing up, “stand up straight!” Perhaps you used to practice walking around with a book on your head? For many seniors, this is not so simple. Our Pilates instructors work on strengthening the body to promote good posture, but working within the restrictions of your body. Many seniors no longer have the ability to “stand up straight,” but there are ways to balance the muscles of the body to better manage the stress placed on the muscles and joints.
Increased joint stability: Many seniors are concerned with the issue of brittle/fragile bones. Pilates is very low-impact but is an approved “weight bearing” form of exercise, often recommended for seniors with Osteoporosis, to promote bone growth and strength. The use of Pilates equipment allows us to create a very controlled weight bearing environment. Guidance from the reformer or trapeze table will prevent misaligned joints from overuse or stress. Once you’re in good alignment, you can strengthen the muscles around the joints, providing a much safer environment for your bones and decrease the risk of fractures or injury.