Article originally published on Sixty and Me.
Pilates is a workout that helps you build full body strength and mobility, improve your posture, increase flexibility, and so much more. It’s a hidden gem in the world of exercise.
But what are the benefits of Pilates for those over 60 years old? There are many. Here are just a few reasons why the over 60 body loves Pilates:
As you age, your body loses muscle tone and becomes less flexible. This can lead to poor posture, which can cause back pain or strain on other joints in the body. Pilates teaches you how to hold your spine in a neutral position (the way it should be), so that you can improve your posture and look younger!
In addition, when we stand taller we look better. Even without losing any weight, improved posture is more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and can instantly slim your waistline.
As we get older, our body’s range of motion can decrease. This can lead to injuries in other areas of the body and limit our ability to do things like reach for something on a high shelf or play with our grandkids. Pilates helps improve range of motion by strengthening the muscles around the joints that are often tight as we age.
Many of the exercises I teach in my online Pilates classes include stability work. Did you know that stabilizing the small intrinsic muscles of the body fosters better mobility of the joints? We explore this regularly in my online Pilates classes. In my opinion, there is nothing better than feeling your body move with ease. It instantly makes you feel years younger.
Increases bone density
Pilates has been shown to increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis. As a low impact form of exercise, it will not cause you to put too much stress on your joints. This is important because osteoporosis is caused by weak bones and loss of bone mass, so make sure that you are exercising in a way that doesn’t put too much pressure on the joints will help increase bone density, preventing the disease from occurring. And if you already have osteoporosis, then Pilates can prevent it from progressing any further.
After adopting a regular Pilates practice I have had clients see an improvement in their regular bone density tests. They credit Pilates for helping with this improvement. It’s always empowering to see the benefits of adopting a healthy habit in a measurable way.
You know that feeling of being unsteady on your feet? The one where you feel like you might topple over at any moment, no matter how many times you try to convince yourself otherwise? It’s a common problem for older adults, but thanks to Pilates it’s a thing of the past.
Some benefits of improved balance include:
- A reduction in falls and injuries due to falls
- Better coordination
- Makes everyday activities easier and more enjoyable
When we are young, we naturally have good balance; however as we age this ability diminishes. The exercises in Pilates improve balance by strengthening muscles throughout the whole body – especially those around the ankles and feet – which support us when standing or walking on uneven surfaces like grass or dirt paths.
Pilates gives you energy and doesn’t leave you feeling depleted
It’s important to note that Pilates is a low impact exercise, unlike high intensity cardio or lifting heavy weights.
This means it won’t leave you feeling depleted and worn out after a session. Pilates will tone your body without putting unnecessary strain on the joints and muscles, especially if you have joint issues or mobility restrictions because of age.
It should also be noted Pilates is an excellent way to improve your mental health by fostering a mind-body connection. I like to call it my moving meditation. Not only will it leave you feeling physically energized but mentally prepared to take on whatever life throws at you.
Pilates is a great way to improve your health and well-being as you age, whether it’s finding more flexibility or building muscle. It can be done at home or at the gym, and can be done in a short amount of time—anytime, anywhere!
If you are interested in trying Pilates, I made a perfect 12 minute Beginner Pilates class on my YouTube channel. The class is gentle, effective and all you need is a Pilates / Yoga mat. Give it a try and see how you feel after!
Christine Kirkland is a Certified Pilates Instructor offering online Pilates classes. She specializes in helping adults to increase their balance, strength, mobility and feel their best every day. Sign up for her newsletter to stay up to date on all things Pilates including fitness tips & free classes by visiting her website here