Why Pilates is a Great Exercise for Older Adults

Two older women doing Pilates

As the body ages, it may not be able to move quite as well as it used to – you may find yourself avoiding the stairs, retiring from the gym and swapping those weekend runs for coffee and cake or a spot of gardening.

While the aging process can’t be stopped entirely, it’s entirely possible to slow down the loss of strength and mobility as an older adult by incorporating the proper exercise into your lifestyle.

That’s where Pilates can help – not only is its low-impact style an excellent choice for older joints and stiffer muscles, but it’s also accessible, with classes for all skill and confidence levels available here at Return.

It can decrease back pain.

One of the most common complaints we hear from older people is back pain. Usually the result of years of improper posture and lack of core engagement, chronic back pain can be debilitating and lead to a reduction in physical activity.

Regular Pilates practice can help to strengthen your core muscles – which run through the trunk of your body down to your pelvic floor – in turn, relieving pressure from the back and supporting your body without straining or contracting the spine.

It can increase bone density.

With around one in three women over 50 suffering from an osteoporotic fracture and 70% of people over 80 affected by osteoporosis, taking steps to improve your bone density can have a significant effect on your overall health.

Reflected by a low bone mass due to the bone quality deteriorating, osteoporosis weakens your skeletal structure and makes you susceptible to fractures.

The weight element of Reformer Pilates, introduced through the tension on the adjustable springs that attach to the bed, helps to develop strength and stability that prevent falls and fractures.

Plus, training with a regular level of this light resistance has been proven to improve bone density.

It can help restore balance and mobility.

While a minor loss of balance as we age is expected (although frustrating), when this becomes more severe, it can impact regular movement and increase the fear and likelihood of falling.

Pilates works muscles in groups and individually as a full-body exercise to help develop strength evenly throughout your body. Targeting the core, the legs, the arms and the glutes, Pilates helps to evenly restore mobility and strength to where you need it most for optimal daily movement.

Regular classes can also help to develop your flexibility, loosening muscles that may have stiffened with age. You’ll be able to move more fluidly with less pain, not only in your classes but in your everyday life, too.

The best thing about Pilates is that it’s never too late to start. Even if you’ve never done a class before or can’t remember the last time you exercised, there’s a Pilates class for everyone.

A great way to gradually improve your strength and mobility while exerting minimal impact on your joints, you’ll surprise yourself with how much progress you can make with Pilates.

Here at Return, we work with clients of all ages and ability levels to help them discover their love for Pilates. With a focus on proper technique, you’ll be guided at every step of the way with extra support if you need it.

Are you feeling ready to give your first class a try? Find your ideal class fit by completing our quiz or check out our timetable here.

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Get ready to unleash your creativity and discover new ways to get moving with Meg's classes! Prepare to feel empowered, mindful, and stronger with every session. 

Why Pilates is a Great Exercise for Older Adults