female balanced body instructor working with an older female

Maintaining a balanced body through Pilates for Seniors

A balanced body is ideal for everyone, regardless of their age. For seniors, a balanced body may be difficult to achieve because many workout routines can add additional risk of injury due to the intensity and impact involved. As a series of workouts originally designed to help dancers, Pilates is a way for seniors to engage and strengthen their muscles through low-impact workouts and stretches to improve their health and overall quality of life. The original Pilates instructor did exercises all throughout his life, even as he got older. Pilates is gaining popularity in the senior community, in large part due to the versatility and adjustability of the exercises.

Balanced Body for Seniors

Pilates is a great workout for seniors, regardless of their beginning fitness level. The workouts create powerful results without putting too much overall stress on the body. Pilates workouts help improve flexibility and dexterity of joints and ligaments, a common health issue with seniors. Along with improved joint health, Pilates also increases core strength and muscle flexibility, leading to a more well-balanced body. The stretches and exercises help bring bones and joints back into alignment as well. The improved strength in the muscles and ligaments can reduce swelling and pain over time and benefit the general quality of life for seniors who actively utilize Pilates classes.

Almost all Pilates exercises are completed either using a mat or on a machine like the Pilates reformer. These positions reduce stress on hips and knees while allowing for active engagement on muscle groups, making it perfect for seniors with arthritis and other joint issues. Improved muscle strength can also lead to better bone health and less pain. In private Pilates classes, a Pilates instructor can tailor exercises to focus on specific issues and work with the client to create the best plan for them to achieve a balanced body.

Health Concerns

It is important for any senior – especially those with ongoing bone and joint issues – to discuss any health concerns or restrictions with their physician before beginning a new workout routine. Any restriction needs to be relayed to the Pilates instructor before committing to a series of workout sessions to reduce the chance of injury for the senior client.  A trained Pilates instructor, like one trained in Sheppard Method Pilates, can often work within those limitations and create a series of stretches and exercises to work within those restrictions and help the client have a more well-balanced body.