Pilates is a great form of exercise for people at every fitness level. There are many levels and types of this exercise and thus anyone can do it. Since it seriously helps with balance issues, the elderly in particularly is a demographic that can greatly benefit from regular Pilates classes.
In her paper written in 2005, entitled ‘Pilates and Stability in Older Adults,’ Erika Quest argued that “through Pilates, with its focus on balance and strengthening of ligaments, tendons and joints, older adults have the opportunity to increase their level of functional strength and improve the efficiency of daily life.”
She went on to explain that one way of improving confidence in the elderly’s ability to move around freely can be garnered through an “individualized program that concentrates on proprioceptive biomechanical awareness, balance, proper gait pattern, and postural positioning [could thus] successfully address faulty motor strategies (compensations) which developed over a lifetime.”
Of course, it should be noted that – for those seniors interested in taking up Pilates – a proper qualified instructor is teaching the class. This means that he or she has a comprehensive knowledge of some of the potential risks that are more likely to occur with the elderly, such as spinal flexion exercises. Older individuals – along with those who suffer from osteopenia – probably need to avoid this. It is also good to note that according to statistics from the National Osteoporosis Foundation, one out of every two women and one out of every four men over the age of 50, will be subject to an osteoporosis-related fracture on the hip, spine, or wrist. Furthermore, with women in this demographic, one out of every two who attend one of these exercise classes has low bone density and thus is more susceptible to such injuries.
Despite these concerns, the overall picture looks good for Pilates and the elderly. It should be noted that it is also an excellent fitness choice for those with conditions such as Parkinson’s, which again becomes more likely as one ages.