Pilates for Older Adults

We all age and mature and it’s not startling news that an older body reflects the effects of time. At a certain point, we no longer buy into looking like a pubescent fashion model or a procedurally enhanced movie star. But just because the clock moves forward we don’t have to give up on the ideal of a body that is flexible and strong and as pain free as possible. The benefits of Pilates have been particularly noted in older adults. Older adults are more likely to suffer from symptoms of arthritis, including stiff and painful joints. Pilates practice has been lauded for its ability to help prevent injury and promote flexibility and strength where once there was rigidity and lack of stamina. We all know the saying, “use it or lose it,” and to keep our bodies moving we need to breathe, stretch, and strengthen within a regular exercise program. Pilates is about movement and was designed to progress naturally from one movement to another. It is controlled and conscious exercise. Pilates on the specialized apparatus is resistance training that gives you functional power, enlivens the body and builds bone strength. Even adults undergoing physical rehabilitation therapy can use Pilates to increase their range of motion and overall muscle strength. Pilates helps your body feel younger and maintain a sense of vitality.

Again, quotes from the man himself:

  • “We retire too early and we die too young, our prime of life should be in the 70’s and old age should not come until we are almost 100.”
  • “A man is as young as his spinal column. If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”
  • “Before any real benefit can be derived from physical exercises, one must first learn how to breath properly. Our very life depends on it.”
  • “With body, mind and spirit functioning perfectly as a coordinated whole, what else could reasonably be expected other than an active, alert, disciplined person.”
  • “I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They’d be happier.”

Joseph H. Pilates in 1965, age 82