Exercises for Over 60s: Pilates

Pilates is a type of exercise that focuses on stretching and strengthening your body’s core - the abdomen, obliques, lower back, inner and outer thigh, etc. This helps to improve balance, muscle-strength, flexibility and posture. Pilates emphasises correct form and focused exercises which target specific areas of the body. The ability to adjust each exercise to suit everyone’s needs makes it a very popular option amongst over 60s. The health benefits of Pilates are extensive. Here are some of the many advantages for over 60s.

1. Alignment

As we get older, we experience more aches and pains and inhibited movement. This isn't something that you have to just accept, there are things you can do to actively improve it. Pilates focuses on correcting your alignment and getting your muscles to start working as they should. Pilates helps to reduce strain on your ligaments and joints and can relieve a lot of tension and pain. Having a better alignment also helps the effectiveness of your workout so you are getting the best results from your efforts. Using a mirror to observe how you stand and move makes a big difference. Try to balance your weight evenly and you’ll see an improvement in no time!

2. Strength

Improving strength isn’t just for the young. It’s important to work your muscles so you feel energised and healthy. Pilates is a perfect option as it doesn’t require a huge amount of equipment. A simple mat is all you need and you can even do this in the comfort of your own home. Pilates uses your own body weight as resistance for your muscles to tone. Each body part is targeted with a different and specific exercise. Over time, you will feel stronger and more toned. This will allow you to feel fit and healthy in everyday life.

3. Flexibility

Improving strength is important but this must be balanced with flexibility. Tight muscles hinder your mobility and cause a tremendous amount of aches and pains. Being supple is essential for overall fitness and wellness. It allows for greater range of movement which will keep you healthy as you move into your later years. Pilates allows you to warm up your muscles and stretch them repeatedly to constantly improve your flexibility.

4. Tone

In senior years, muscle tone can deteriorate rapidly if you do not have an exercise routine. Regular exercise is key and if you stick to a plan, after just a few weeks of Pilates, you should notice a change in your muscle tone and overall physical appearance. Every part of your body is trained evenly so you can enjoy an overall improvement. Although Pilates is not focused on weight loss, it can have a huge effect when combined with a proper diet and other aerobic activities (such as walking, swimming, cycling, etc.).

5. Stress Relief

We all suffer from stress at times and this is not something that stops after retirement. It is one of the most detrimental factors to our health and wellbeing. Frequent exercise helps you to relax and relieve tension. Taking just 30-60 minutes out of your day to focus on exercise allows your mind to drift from worry. Pilates focuses on deep breathing and awareness of your body and movement. This enhances feelings of calmness and tranquillity.

How to Find Classes

Pilates is becoming an integral and common exercise in the fitness wold. As it develops and grows, classes are becoming available for all levels of ability and for all ages. Look into your local health and fitness centres and senior centres to see what’s available. If an age-specific class is not available, try a beginner class. A good instructor will be able to help you to find what works for you. Many people attempt to learn Pilates from online videos or DVDs. This is not recommended for beginners as it is essential to get the exercises right to ensure that you do not injure yourself.

Pilates is a low-impact exercise which is most effective when combined with aerobic exercises and a healthy diet. For more information, read our articles on healthy eating for over 60s and exercises for your later years. You’ll soon be taking the first steps to a happier, healthier you!

 


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