Suna's top 10 reasons pilates is great for aging well May 11 2016

The inventor of pilates and erstwhile circus performer Joseph Pilates said that "anyone who is stiff and out of shape at 30 is old, while someone who is supple and strong at 60 is still young."

As a limber 70 year old, the famous pilates instructor Romana Kryzanowska proclaimed "Pilates is the fountain of youth".

The ever incredible Jamie Lee Curtis stated "Pilates is the only exercise programme that has changed my body and made me feel great."

Because pilates is so effective at building your body’s core strength through balancing, stretching and correct breathing, it is popular with many doctors who recommend pilates to clients who are middle aged (or more) for overall fitness and body health, and sports physios who are focused on injury rehabilitation or improving fitness steadily.

As you would expect, pilates techniques and exercises improve balance, co-ordination, and flexibility - essential physical elements for all of us, but especially for those of us who are a little older.

10 reasons pilates is ideal for older people

1. Zero impact, easy on joints.

Pilates is a non-impact exercise and places no undue strain on joints and connective tissues.

2. More oxygen in your bloodstream.

Deep, correct breathing gets more oxygen into your body - which decreases tiredness and forgetfulness.

3. Better flexibility.

Pilates creates longer leaner muscles, which are less injury prone than the short, bulky muscles created by many other types of fitness. Pilates can help people with joint issues or arthritis improve their range of movement.

4. Improve alignment and balance.

Pilates focuses on balance, symmetry and working within a frame. People practicing pilates will see improved strength, balance and coordination.

 5. Support healthier sleeping patterns.

The pilates breathing techniques and the post-exercise relaxation can both contribute to sleeping better - which can be more of an issue as we age.

 6. Reduce the chance of falls.

Because pilates increases strength and flexibility in both the core and the legs, and improves proprioception (our awareness of our body's place and movement in space), it helps us regain and maintain balance and can help decrease the chance of falls, injury and accidents.

7. Less joint stiffness.

Because pilates exercise lubricates joints and preserves healthy tissues, and encourages us to use the full range of motion, pilates helps our joints become healthier, stronger and more flexible. This means we are more likely to have mobile joints, and also move them correctly, avoiding injury and strain.

8. Whole body exercise for balance.

Unlike high repetition and cardio based exercise, pilates addresses all the parts of the body equally for symmetry, mobility and strength. 

9. Lightweight - but not 'easy'!

Compared to gym equipment, pilates is great for older adults, particularly using reformers, because of the lighter, even, controlled resistance.

 10. Minimise the impact of illness.

It may seem miraculous, but there are many documented cases where pilates has slowed or even reverses the effects of Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, arthritis, osteoporosis and reduced the impact of strokes. If you have any of these conditions, do make sure your Suna pilates instructors are aware, so they can ensure your safety and wellbeing.

 

Staying active and using your body well is a key component of ageing well. Pilates can help people of any age perform to their optimum every day.

A quote I live by is from my own great grandmother, who at 100 years of age, was wont to say "Use it or lose it!" - and I fully intend to!