Pilates is renowned for its ability to strengthen and protect muscles, but its impact extends far beyond that. Embracing a regular Pilates practice can significantly improve your overall well-being and have a positive influence on your life especially if you are a senior. If you are reading this article you may have heard friends, family or the media talk about all the wonderful benefits of Pilates. In this article, we’ll explore four compelling health benefits that make Pilates a truly transformative exercise in your golden years.
#1 Enhancing Body Protection
Pilates isn’t just about sculpting muscles and improving core strength; it goes deeper by enhancing flexibility, muscle tone, and posture, which all contribute to improved joint health. By realigning your body and addressing compensatory movement patterns, Pilates promotes better movement mechanics and reduces the risk of pain and discomfort in the long term.
The intention behind Pilates is to foster fluidity and ease in your everyday movements outside the mat. When you cultivate proper alignment and body mechanics during your Pilates sessions, these principles naturally carry over into your daily activities, making them more comfortable and less taxing on your body.
#2 Posture Improvement for a Youthful and Healthy You
Pilates places great emphasis on good posture, and for a good reason. Proper posture not only enhances your physical appearance but also comes with a plethora of health benefits for both body and mind.
When you work on your posture through Pilates, you enable deeper abdominal breathing, which, in turn, reduces stress levels and calms the nervous system. Additionally, Pilates strengthens the muscles supporting your spine and back, helping you avoid slouching and promoting the correct alignment of your pelvis atop your spine. This has an instant slimming effect on your body.
Anecdotal evidence shows that regular Pilates practice has resulted in an increase in height for some individuals due to improved posture. I know personally this was where I saw an improvement. After regularly practicing Pilates I grew over 1 inch in height. One of my Pilates students also saw the same benefit. Such pleasant surprises are a testament to the profound impact Pilates can have on your overall well-being.
#3 Osteoporosis Prevention for Strong and Healthy Bones
While many focus on the aesthetic benefits of Pilates, it also plays a significant role in building bone density, making it an excellent preventive measure against osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases. By strengthening the muscles around your joints, Pilates contributes to joint health and helps reduce joint pain.
Osteoporosis, often referred to as the “silent thief,” can silently erode bone density over time without noticeable symptoms. Pilates, with its low-impact nature and reliance on light weights or body resistance, proves to be an ideal exercise to combat osteoporosis. Given that women face a higher risk of osteoporosis, a regular Pilates practice can be especially advantageous for them.
Even if you’re past 60, it’s never too late to start a Pilates routine. Seeking guidance from a Pilates instructor experienced in catering to the needs of older individuals ensures a safe and effective journey towards stronger bones and a healthier body.
#4 Unifying Mind and Body through Mindful Movement
Pilates is a mind-body exercise, wherein the brain and body communicate through the nervous system. The deliberate focus required during Pilates sessions facilitates a connection between the mind and body, leading to enhanced mental clarity and reduced racing thoughts.
The emphasis on breath in Pilates also contributes to the moving meditation experience. The conscious awareness of your breath throughout the practice fosters a sense of presence, helping you stay in the moment and reducing stress and anxiety. I often joke that my morning Pilates sessions are the equivalent to my morning coffee and set me off on the right foot for the day.
Incorporating Pilates into Your Life
Embracing Pilates not only improves your physical health but also nurtures your mental and emotional well-being. From enhanced balance and reduced back pain to increased energy levels, Pilates has been scientifically proven to provide numerous benefits.
Pilates is accessible to all, regardless of experience or fitness level. It is vital, however, to work with a certified Pilates instructor to ensure proper guidance and avoid injury.
Now is the perfect time to embark on a Pilates journey. With these four health benefits in mind, take the plunge and experience the transformative power of Pilates both on and off the mat.
Christine Kirkland is a Certified Pilates Instructor who offers senior friendly online Pilates classes. Her expertise lies in helping adults improve balance, strength, and mobility, enabling them to feel their best every day.