Pilates is an excellent form of exercise for seniors and it is our absolute honour to have people of all ages, including many over the age of 60 and 70, within our MerryBody Online Yoga and Pilates Studio Membership.
Pilates is an exercise that was invented in the early 20th century. This amazing method of exercise was created by Joseph Pilates and he continued to practice and teach well and truly into his later years.
As we all age, the process of natural rejuvenation of human cells slows down. There comes a point in each of our lives that we begin to notice a natural loss in muscle strength, mobility, and balance.
The great thing is that we can do something about it. We can welcome consistent exercise practice to help maintain strength, mobility and balance. And a regular Pilates workout is the perfect option!
Pilates is a total body, low impact method of movement perfect to start at any age but an optimal choice for older adults.
We also want to mention, this is not about anti-aging. This is about pro-aging, our goal for ourselves and for you, is to feel able, strong and comfortable as you get older.
Our Mum, aged 63 now, does Yoga and Pilates every day! She is absolutely amazing and we know this consistency will help her maintain her health and well being as she heads towards her senior years.
Within MerryBody Yoga and Pilates we don’t focus on the external body, however, we do need to mention just how good our Mum looks! Plus, the best part, she feels amazing!
Benefits Of Pilates For Seniors
No matter when you start, whether you’re 17 or 70, you will experience many amazing health benefits as you practise Pilates.
Famously known to increase core strength, Pilates is a full body workout and will get you feeling stronger all over. Using your own body weight or Pilates equipment, Pilates involves various sequences of movement where you will work the tiny stabiliser muscles and larger powerhouse muscles.
Pilates exercises involve both strength and stretch components. It’s not like a weights session where you stretch after a big workout. You stretch throughout the Pilates class, with consistency you will become more flexible.
You need to focus on both strength and flexibility to create more mobility within the body. Pilates ticks off both and therefore is the perfect exercise to promote better mobility and range of motion within joints.
With more strength, flexibility and mobility comes better balance. This is so important as we age. Better balance means less risk of falling and breaking bones, which can be very dangerous in our older years.
Promotes better posture
Without strength you can’t hold your spine in the correct postural position. Maintaining strength is integral to proper posture. This also results in less back injury and less back pain!
Exercise and movement is essential for mind health. It is one of the most effective ways to boost the production of feel good hormones, boosting your mood. Exercise also increases the blood flow to your brain and reduces inflammation. These factors can greatly affect cognition and memory.
Really the list could go on and on. The best way to really experience the great benefits of Pilates is to try a class! You can try one of our MerryBody Pilates Classes over here. It’s under 20 minutes and you will feel amazing after!
Pilates Exercises For Seniors
The best type of Pilates is different for everyone, from mat Pilates, to the reformer and even chair Pilates! Although, if you are completely new to exercise and starting later in life, you might want to start slow and ease into it. But remember, now is the best time you can start!
It’s always a good idea to get a medical check prior to beginning any new exercise program. Remember that we are sharing this for inspiration and informational purposes only. If you do have any injuries or ailments it is always necessary to gain medical guidance, diagnosis or treatment. Therefore you can welcome in a form of exercise that focuses on improving your health!
But if you are feeling able and ready to begin, the below exercises are just 3 amazing Pilates exercises for seniors and all ages!
We love this move because it’s low impact and extremely effective. It will work your core strength but it’s also great for your mind too! When you move a single leg and single arm on opposite sides it boosts your brain health. Read more about it here.
- Lay flat on your back, knees bent and shins parallel to the ground, lift arms straight up towards the ceiling.
- Engage your core muscles by pulling the belly button inwards and upwards. Inhale deeply, while also lengthening your right arm and left leg out. Keep your torso and spine completely stable and your lower back glued (imprinted) to the floor.
- Exhale to return to the starting position, repeat 4 more times.
- Swap to the other side.
All 4s tabletop
Depending on the health of your knees, this is a great Pilates move for older adults. Staying low to the ground creates a grounded sensation. If you suffer from balance issues this is the ultimate strength building Pilates move for you!
- Begin on your hands and knees, check that knees are under hips and wrists are under shoulders. Hold your core strong. Keep a micro bend in the elbows.
- Extend your left leg back, point the toes, lengthen your leg. Inhale to tap the toes to the ground then exhale and lift your leg to hip height. Keep the body as stable as possible.
- Repeat this 10 times. Then swap to the other leg. How do you feel?
This has got to be one of our favourite abdominal moves. As a Pilates instructor (Emma here), I am forever seeing people pushing past their limits and then moving in an ineffective and potentially dangerous way. Although this move may seem ‘easier’ than a crunch, this move is one of the best ways to work your ab muscles correctly!
- Start by laying on your back, draw one leg to table top one at a time. Knees are directly over hips, shins parallel to the ground.
- Keep your back, head and shoulders flat on the ground. Draw belly button in and up.
- Inhale to lower the left foot to the earth and exhale to lift back to table top. Swap to the right leg. Continue 20 times, alternating each time.
We hope you are feeling inspired to try the amazing practice of Pilates. We know we will be continuing our practice for as long as possible. Not just to keep us physically and mentally healthy, but because it’s fun as well!
Don’t forget to sign up to our Free Pilates class. If you do the class, or try any of the above Pilates moves, let us know! We’d love to hear from you!
Emma + Carla