IS PILATES REALLY FOR ANY ONE AT ANY AGE?
Pilates is a great form of exercise to help elderly people improve their balance and reduce their risk of falls. With an aging population in Australia, we are always looking for ways to keep our older age groups mobile, active, healthy and happy. Pilates is a tool that can help with this. Pilates really is an exercise that anyone can do at any age.
Ozdemir et al looked at the effects of a 12 week Pilates program on the balance, flexibility, reaction time and muscle strength in sixty 65 year old women from an aged care facility. They looked at these parameters to assess the role Pilates could play in falls prevention in older women.
The Pilates program included theraband and swiss ball work. Women participated in a one hour class three times per week. At the end of the 12 weeks, all women had significantly improved in all areas compared to the control group.
Kloube, found that twice weekly Pilates for 12 weeks improved the hamstring flexibility, the upper body strength and abdominal endurance of middle aged men and women.
Johnson et al found that 10 sessions over a 5 week period of reformer Pilates improved dynamic balance.
When Pilates is conducted by a physiotherapist, your program will be tailored to your needs and goals. So whether you are 20 years old and want to do Pilates for fitness, 30 years old and you want to control your back pain or 60 years old and want to keep yourself moving and active, Pilates could be a great form of exercise for you.
From personal experience, I have had a 91 year old woman use the Pilates reformer for postural strengthening after a motor vehicle accident. The client found the reformer was a great form of exercise for her as it was gentle but could also feel her strength improving. I also have an 81 year old woman attend clinical Pilates classes for core strengthening to control her lower back pain and trochanteric bursitis with great success. Age is not something that will hold you back from Pilates.
Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates
Irez G, Ozdemir R, evin R, Irez S and Korkusuz F (2011) Integrating Pilates exercise into an exercise program for 65+ year-old women to reduce falls, Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 10, 105-111
Kloubec, J (2010) Pilates for Improvement of Muscle Endurance, Flexibility, Balance, and Posture, Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 24(3) 661-667 doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c277a6
Johnson E, Larsen A, Ozawa H, Wilson C and Kennedy K (2007) The effects of Pilates-based exercise on dynamic balance in healthy adults. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapist 11, 238-242