Pilates and the Older Adult – the benefits

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Pilates is extremely popular with older adults as it is a low impact, safe form of exercise that can easily be modified to suit fitness levels and abilities.

 

 

Older Adults may also find the gentler approach to exercise that Pilates offers very appealing in comparison to other forms of exercise as the classes can be relaxing yet revitalising.

The benefits of pilates could be the following:

 

  • Pilates focuses on control and stability, which is important for the older adult and also helps to improve body awareness, muscular strength and endurance, range of motion, co-ordination and motor fitness. As Pilates helps to mobilise the joints and improve range of motion, this can relieve stiffness and reduce pain helping to maintain normal joint movements.
  • With conditions like Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, or Parkinson’s Disease Working it is important to improve and maintain strength, co-ordination and balance and these form part of a typical physiotherapy rehabilitation programme. The pilates principle of concentration requires the body and mind to work toegher in order to ensure correct muscle recruitment and this helps to encourage those neural pathways or neurones to fire correctly and ultimately improves an individual’s ability to choose and control their specific movement. And because Pilate focuses on functional movement it can help to reinforce day to day movement patterns such as arm and leg movements or balance when seated or standing.
  • Pilates can help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can reduce symptoms of urinary incontinence in both men and women, and can help in rehabilitation before and after treatment for prostrate conditions.
  • Pilates helps to strengthen your core muscles which improve balance for standing and walking as a strong centre and strong back muscles can help with posture and alignment.
  • Resistance training, for example exercises using a resistance band, have been shown to improve both cognitive performance and brain function, two functions often impaired in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

As part of my current provision I offer Chair based Pilates sessions which are a great opportunity for encouraging inclusivity amongst those older adults who would perhaps have not attended before because they were not comfortable getting up from a mat.

My carefully thought out programme is performed seated on a chair, with some standing exercises if appropriate and incorporates a variety of equipment such as wobble cushions, resistance bands and balls to make the class stimulating and fun. We work the core with a wide range of exercises and I also emphasise the breathing and flow in a session too.

Sources:

http://www.prostate.net/2012/recent-prostate-articles/pilates-for-pelvic-floor-muscles/#sthash.0rtX3TKD.dpuf

http://www.peakphysiotherapy.com/blog/2013/07/29/pilates-an-effective-neuro-rehabilitation-tool

prostatecanceruk.org/media/975926/pelvic_floor_exercises-ifm.pdf

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120423162403.htm

If you are interested in joining a session, please call 07980 527805

Chair Exercise

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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