For the older and more frail members of the population, it is often difficult to find an exercise form that will help them to stay fit and healthy. Most people associate exercise with high-impact activities such as running or fast walking, but not many elderly realise that while Pilates is essentially a very low-impact form of exercise, it can greatly increase in intensity and will benefit the body regardless of age or fitness levels. There are many reasons why our Pilates classes in Pretoria are becoming firm favourites with the elderly, and these include the following:
1. Better balance and stability: Because Pilates places a lot of focus on the core muscles around the midrange of the body, as opposed to the extremities like arms and legs, the potential for injury is much lower. Pilates teaches better control around the joints and extremities, and as a result, muscles become stronger and balance improves. The elderly is particularly prone to falls, and with improved balance, the chance of falls is greatly decreased. It also widens the range of motion and functional movements become better. Because the core is stronger, the legs are better able to balance the body weight and this brings with it some basic fitness benefits that everybody needs to maintain physical health. And because it is low impact, it is also a great rehabilitative exercise form when recovering from joint replacements or other surgeries.
2. Antidote for a range of illnesses: Pilates is very good at keeping age-related illnesses at bay. Those suffering from arthritis benefit from the gentle movements of this exercise form, and because the joints are not compressed during Pilates (as it would be during most other types of exercise), it is a safer choice for those with osteoporosis. The simple exercises while standing can provide gentle weight bearing exercise without being overwhelming, and this results in better bone density in the spine, hips and legs. For lower back problems, the gentle stretching can help to counteract the spasms in the spinal muscles, and gravity is used to pull muscles back into good posture. It is, however, essential that a good Pilates instructor ensures that students of advanced age are taken through a body-related programme in order to prevent injury. Many of the standard exercises can be changed and modified in order to serve a particular purpose or to concentrate on a specific area of the body. Pilates has also proven to be effective at slowing down conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and MS. It can even help to retrain the body after a stroke, and many brain damage or stroke patients get their bodies to move more symmetrically with Pilates, with great results.
If you are an elderly person and looking for the best form of exercise that will not only keep you in shape and keep your body healthy, but also help you to recover after surgery or illness, contact our studio to find out more about our Pilates classes in Pretoria for the elderly. You will be so glad you did!