We hear it all the time from the physicians. You need to get up and move, do yoga, run or go to the gym. When you are an older person, such as a senior citizen, it is too difficult for many to go to the gym. It is near impossible for many seniors to run to the bathroom, much less run a mile. Some of those yoga moves certainly were not designed with seniors in mind.
There is another form of working out that is not like the above. Pilates has tons of benefits for people our age. We will go over the top ten. First, let’s explain just what Pilates is. Pilates is known as the art of controlled movements. This is a statement from the founder of Pilates, Joseph Pilates.
It is a form of exercise that puts more emphasis on the core muscles and when practiced routinely, can help to alleviate many of life’s issues such as weakened muscles, improving balance and improving the alignment of the body. While practicing Pilates, you will also gain control of your breathing, the core muscles, and improve strength and flexibility also.
Pilates is a whole body exercise that is known to correct some muscular imbalances, and improve movement patterns. By instituting different apparatuses,
Pilates is based on nine different principals:
Breathing is an important aspect of Pilates. The purpose for breathing is to improve the clean oxygen in the body and improve the blood circulation through all the blood vessels. According to Pilates, the breaths in must be full and complete, just as though being released should be like wringing a wet cloth out.
Drain the air out of the lungs. Introduced as Posterior Lateral breathing, the point is to breathe deeply into the back and sides of the rib cage. Exhaling should involve the lower abdominal muscles, as well as the pelvic floor muscles. The person is to focus on those muscles and maintain the movements throughout all exercises.
Concentration is the second main point of Pilates. The person must fully concentrate on what they are doing within each exercise. The focus of the concentration should be more on the way in which the exercise is done rather than the exercise itself. In other words, how is the body moving during the exercise, is the breathing being maintained?
Pilates intent was that all exercises are done with control over the muscles. The muscles work against gravity and the springs, in this manner, you are controlling the movements of the body.
For any Pilates to work for the practitioner, they must have a center point to focus upon. The Center would be the focal point. Many Pilates Instructors will label all the muscles in the center region, such as the abdominal, buttocks, inner thighs, upper and lower back as well as the hips. As this focal region. The movements are said to start in the center and move outwards towards the limbs.
The flow simply means that all movements should be smooth and fluid. The point of Pilates is to not have jerky movements. No sudden movements, slow and concentrated. All movements are meant to be precision done. The movements should look elegant as you progress from one move to the next.
The alignment of the posterior region makes all movements safer due to proper alignment. Pilates improves the safety by correcting the imbalance of the muscles and the coordination will then be optimized.
The focus in Pilates is to do one movement in a slow and fluid manner. According to Pilates, the common exercises are a combination of half hearted movements, while doing Pilates is a focused sequence of moves that is done to be only one movement and transition. When Pilates is done correctly, the movements will carry over to daily life and become natural.
When concentration is done on the correct muscle movements, relaxation is greatly improved.
When a participant has increased precision, the movements become more efficient and therefore less stress is exerted through the exercises.
Simply stated, Pilates is a form of exercise that involves the whole body, which is designed to align your body, correct the muscular imbalances, enhance your movements and create one balance involving strength and your mobility.
Is Pilates safe for the older citizens? According to the studies that have been done, Pilates is beneficial for all who participate because it helps with a better quality of life. Of course, having assistance from an Instructor is more beneficial and involves much more safety. The instructor can help maximize your progress so you can reap the benefits of the Pilates workout.
Top reasons that Pilates is beneficial for older people:
- Pilates may improve bone density
Low bone density leaves a person open for bones that break easily. Pilates can help to improve bone density, especially for post-menopausal women. Maintaining a strong bone density can also help delay or prevent the start of Osteoporosis. Using the spring works rather than weights is shown to be better than mat work exercises alone.
- Posture improvement
As we get older, it seems that we start to slouch over, that we lose some of our height. This misalignment and seeming to be shorter is all tied in to bone density, Bad habits create much of this. When we age, our joints and organs begin to compress. Thus taking some of our height. Tight muscles that are imbalanced can cause quite a lot of pain. When practicing Pilates, you gain needed improvement in the muscles and joints.
- Improved balance and walking motion
Pilates improves muscle tone and helps complete normal activities such as walking. Our gait pattern tends to change as we age, our ankles weaken along with our bones. Pilates improves our gait and helps strengthen our muscles which improves our daily lives.
- Removes stiffness and improves mobility
How many times have you said that you ache when you are trying to stand up? Doing Pilates is a gentle exercise that is going to help you be more limber, stronger and even balanced.
- Lightens stress and boosts the moods
Pilates is a form of workout where you need to focus. You begin by breathing in and out, which in itself, is a relaxing feeling. Practice breathing can even be done when you are sitting. The movements become fluid once you understand them and move as you are a gentle wave. This mellows the bad and increases the happiness. Sort of a Serotonin booster by the natural route and a metabolism boost to your system.
- Helps the memory and understanding
When there is no real reason to focus, things can get garbled. You do not have full focus on any task and at times it is difficult to comprehend what others are saying or what they mean. Pilates is based on focusing. Concentrating on the movements that you make. Feeling that fresh oxygen coming into your lungs while you release the toxin filled bad oxygen. Concentration is then improved because your focus improves.
- Minimizes back pains
They say all exercise is good, but as you age, you do not want to do those body jarring movements that come with lifting weights, jumping or bouncing. All those types of moves can injure the muscles and the bones. Pilates is a gentle motion no matter which movement of Pilates that you are doing. The movements are slow and steady. There is no sudden landing, no amount of weight that is landing, your back muscles are not straining with the movement of Pilates or the flow of those movements.
- Strengthens and boosts your immunity
Being up and moving is always a good thing for us as we age. Pilates helps us focus on breathing. Many times something so important is taken for granted. We make the motions of breathing, but we are not ridding ourselves of the toxic oxygen in our body. When doing Pilates, we are taught how to breathe in deeply and how to also push all the air out of our lungs.
Doing this helps us clean our bodies inside, it gets the blood circulating the way it should and it builds the a when we push the negative air out. Pilates is a great way of boosting your moods, your ego, and increasing the way you feel about yourself. When you are feeling good your body works better. Acts as an antiaging mechanism on the body.
- Helps to prevent injury
When we are exercising, any form of exercise, it is helping our bodies to be stronger. The muscles will stretch and move easier so there are no pulled muscles. Pilates is a no impact form of working out, which means no jarring impacts on our feet, knees, back or arms. As our bodies get stronger, we can then reduce injuries that could happen.
- Builds the core
Pilates, as stated, is a no impact form of working out. Most other exercise programs aim to build quick muscles in just certain areas. If your core is not strong and stable, the rest of your body is not going to be strong. Those muscles will not do any good when you are laid up with an impact injury because your forced yourself to do strength training to build those muscles.
Pilates focuses on the core of your body. The abdominal region, the back, both upper and lower as well as the hips and shoulders. Those are the areas that get the most work when we move in any manner. Pilates makes it easier to move by teaching us those fluid moves to strengthen our balance, build our core, straighten the body structure and improve our walking.