How Seniors can Benefit from Pilates

Estimated Time to Read: 3 minutes

Joseph Pilates revolutionized the fitness world when he introduced Pilates.  It began as a means to improve his overall health and wellbeing. He suffered from a number of ailments and did not want to let these diseases ruin his life.  Taking charge of the situation, he studied muscle movements and learned of ways to strengthen and improve them.  Being the son of a gymnast and a naturopath, he had a general idea of the human body and which muscles were best to target for different results. The success of this new workout was unprecedented.  He was able to drastically improve his overall health and fitness and keep his diseases under control.  During the war era, what is now known as Pilates and resistance training, was introduced to hospitals as part of the rehabilitation program for patients.  It was a very successful program as the soldiers had an improved recovery.

8295241597_eaed047989_cToday Pilates is a well-known term.  Many gyms and studios teach the art of Pilates to those that are looking to gain strength, improve health and increase muscle tone.  It is a very different idea from a weightlifting program as Pilates focuses on small movements and using your own body versus gym weights and equipment to focus on one muscle group at a time. Pilates must be done with precision in order to be beneficial.  With correct movement and breathing, it is one type of exercise that can be easily learned by all age groups and abilities and will benefit everybody who learns it.

Seniors benefit extremely well from Pilates as these programs are perfect for the current ability and future benefits.  Because large machines and weights are not needed, there is a reduced chance of straining or injury.  During Pilates, they use their own body mass and resistance for much of the workouts.  Many of the workouts focus on core muscles, these muscles are needed daily for posture.  Good posture will reduce back and neck pain and many upper body issues.  Many bone problems are solved through Pilates. This is possible because as the workouts are done, the muscles around the bones are strengthened, better holding them in place.  Bad backs, bad necks, knee and joint injuries, sore shoulders and many other ailments are cured by simply having the muscles built up to keep bones firmly where they should be and operating at optimal performance.

Pilates for seniors can be started with exercises that require little movement and their own body resistance.  As they work the new exercises into a daily or weekly routine, the muscles overall over their entire body begin to strengthen. They receive a full body workout without using gym weights that many would not be able to manage.  Moves such as the plank can be worked from 5 seconds up to 60 seconds as their core and leg and arm muscles strengthen with each workout regimen.  As many seniors cannot lift extremely heavy items, they will benefit from a Pilates routine much faster than a weightlifting routine.  Both will generate muscle and built strength but Pilates will focus on core and full body fitness versus itemized muscles with a weight building program.

Since Pilates does not require expensive machines and weights it can be practiced almost anywhere.  All a person needs is a flat surface and a soft mat. Pilates classes can be organized in workplaces, homes, or any location that’s convenient for a group of people. Doing this type of exercise in a group is great for motivation, competitive drive and inspiration.

Joseph Pilates suffered from rickets, rheumatic fever and asthma.  By studying an applying Pilates to his workouts, he became so fit, that by the age of 14 he was posing for anatomical charts.  Not only did he improve his overall health and wellbeing, he surpassed the weight lifter creating a body that was full of muscle and well-toned.  It does not take large elaborate routines to build muscle.  When it comes to personal fitness, sometimes less can result in more. There are many online resources for instruction on Pilates and gyms or community centers frequently hold classes. Whether you want a professional environment or need to make it work in your own home, Pilates is a great personal fitness choice.

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