Top 12 reasons Pilates is great for aging well
The inventor of Pilates, 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.
Suna Pilates is brilliant for all ages as we offer low-zero impact workouts that strengthen the core, improve balance and flexibility and provide full-body exercise - essential physical elements for all of us, but especially for those of us who are a little older. All of these things reduce the risk of falls and improve the quality of life... but there's more to the equation.
12 reasons Pilates is ideal for older people
1. Zero impact, easy on joints
Pilates is a zero-extremely low impact exercise. At Suna Pilates we have a strong focus on exercising with great posture, to prevent any strain on joints or connective tissues.
2. More oxygen in your bloodstream
Deep, correct breathing gets more oxygen into your body - which decreases tiredness and forgetfulness, and boosts body processes.
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 and reduce the likelihood of falls
Pilates focuses on balance, symmetry and working within a frame. People practicing Pilates will see improved strength, balance and coordination. This combines to reduce the likelihood of falls, which is a high cause of injury for older people.
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 also help decrease the chance of falls, injury and accidents.
5. Support healthier sleeping patterns
The Pilates breathing techniques and the post-exercise relaxation can both contribute to sleeping better - and getting a great night's sleep can become more of an issue as we age.
6. 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 even as we age, and also move them correctly, avoiding injury and strain.
7. Whole body exercise
Unlike high repetition and cardio based exercise, Pilates addresses all the parts of the body equally for symmetry, mobility and strength. It's holistic fitness!
8. Lightweight - but not 'easy'!
Compared to gym equipment, Pilates is great for older adults, particularly using reformers, because of the lighter, even, controlled resistance.
9. 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.
10. Aerobic exercise can improve memory function & maintain brain health
It's official - an Australian study examined effects of aerobic exercise, including stationary cycling, walking, and treadmill running on a region of the brain called the hippocampus, which is critical for memory and other brain functions.
Lead author, NICM postdoctoral research fellow, Joseph Firth said "Our data showed that ... the main 'brain benefits' are due to aerobic exercise slowing down the deterioration in brain size. In other words, exercise can be seen as a maintenance program for the brain."
Physical exercise is one of the very few scientifically proven methods for maintaining brain size and function into older age.
11. Exercise helps you retain muscle as you age
This seems obvious, but retaining muscle tone and halting age-related muscle loss requires both regular aerobic and resistance exercise. It’s the perfect reason to get moving with Pilates. Strength, resistance, flexibility and aerobic exercises are key to preventing muscle loss.
There is a lot more you can do too, from taking Vitamin D and eating more protein to avoiding obesity in middle age. What you do now matters to your long term health! Read more about preventing muscle loss here, or ask us about how Reformer and Fit classes are ideal for mature clients.
12. Mind-body wellness
At Suna we are focused on your wellbeing and that doesn't end with physical fitness! We can use Metabolic Typing to identify the right types of nutrition for your body, and Kinesiology to unveil how much hydration you need, and when. We can work with you to help reshape your thought patterns, and find calm in mindfulness.
Susie explains why Pilates is great for aging well and enjoying life more with a well body
Pilates is the ideal exercise for aging well, & living longer, stronger!
Suna Pilates Fit and Reformer classes are Accredited by the ACC and Ministry of Health programme 'Live Stronger for Longer'.
Aimed at preventing falls and the resulting injuries in over 65's, the 'Live Stronger for Longer' programme is designed to encourage appropriate exercise, and to improve strength and balance. You can find out a lot more about the programme on the www.livestronger.org.nz website.
The programme arose because every year 1 in 3 people aged 65 and over injure themselves in a fall. This rate rises to 1 in 2 once we reach 80. The good news is falls aren’t a natural part of the ageing process, and we can proactively work to prevent them.
Exercises that strengthen your leg and core muscles, and improve balance reduce the risk of falling. It’s that simple.
This clinical evidence has motivated ACC and the Ministry of Health to work towards getting as many people aged 65+ into exercise as possible.
"We know, without a doubt, that people who have good leg and ‘core’ strength also have good balance. Building your strength will improve your balance, and help prevent a fall." - Professor Matthew Parsons
Just like for younger people, exercise also helps 65+ Kiwis improve:
- bones strength
- energy levels
- quality of sleep
- blood pressure, blood sugar levels and weight.
Our thanks to Lead Agency for Waitemata, North Harbour Sport, for enabling our Accreditation. We are passionate about helping people age well and live well longer.
Staying active and using your body well is a key component of ageing well, and Pilates can help people of any age perform to their optimum every day.
Give us a call on 09 489 1987 - we'd love to talk to you about Pilates + Wellbeing!