Contrary to what you may think, Pilates is suitable for all ages, children through to elderly adults. Anyone who is old enough to learn or fit enough to perform Pilates exercises can benefit from them. It is important to keep the body strong and supple from early life (when it is admittedly much easier to do so) and as we age. A carefully designed Pilates programme is one of the best ways to ward off the physical problems associated with advancing age and for the young it can set them on a righteous path of fitness that will only continue to reap benefits as they get older.
Quite a few of our clients start doing Pilates because they have reached ‘a certain age’ but there isn’t only one age group that Pilates specifically targets. While the popularity of Pilates among adults is well known, it also offers a range of benefits for children and young people. As we grow, our bodies are in a constant state of change and development. Spinal alignment and improved posture can be achieved as Pilates exercises increase the strength and flexibility of the abdominal and inner muscles of the body. And in an age of record numbers of childhood obesity and inactivity, Pilates promotes toned bodies and improved athletic capability. Through Pilates, children can gain a positive awareness of their body at an early age, learning how to move both efficiently and gracefully.
Don’t get stuck in the middle
Many people get into an inactive rut as they start to reach middle age, with lack of activity becoming habitual. Aside from trimming down or adding muscle, working out has some serious health benefits for the parts of the body we can’t see. Regular exercise can prevent or delay illness or disability in middle adulthood. If you’ve already had a weakness indentified or been diagnosed with a condition, disease or disability, regular Pilates exercise can improve health conditions and prevent complications down the line.
A recent study showed that 10% of premature deaths were caused by inactivity. Which should be enough to get anyone on the road to looking after their physical health and body (it’s the only one you get, remember!). Whether you’re dealing with high blood pressure or diabetes, or family histories thereof, getting the right low-impact exercise can make all the difference.
Never too old
Taking care of our bodies through exercise is important at any age, but as we get older, being active becomes all the more critical. As we reach our 50s and 60s, many people suffer bone density issues in the form of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Pilates can help bone health and stability. It has been proven that weight-bearing exercise can strengthen bones, and pilates uses ‘weights and springs’ to provide resistance during exercises, which improves strength and enhances bone density.
With the right Pilates teacher who knows the characteristics and ramifications of osteoporosis, such as limited forward flexion, a specifically tailored workout based on the individual’s needs can be devised.
Spine health and balance are also key components of healthy aging. You can be fit as the proverbial fiddle otherwise, but if your spine has problems, then you can be severely debilitated The spine must be moved through a range of daily motion to strengthen and create space at each vertebral joint, as well as prevent degenerative disc disease and facet joint arthritis and stenosis. Sciatica symptoms and common joint injuries associated with aging can also be prevented through Pilates focus on core strength. Physical activity can even help reduce one’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline, and it’s known to assuage depression and general unhappiness.
So Pilates is for everyone. And we want everyone to try Pilates! Come and join us at one of our regular Newcastle Pilates classes to see what all the fuss is about. We guarantee you will not regret it!