THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY IN LATER LIFE
Just because there is another mile on the clock does not mean that we cannot still remain fit and active well into our 80's and 90's. I know of many people who have taken up Pilates in their 90's and worked up to intermediate levels and beyond.
It really is a case of 'use it or lose it' but in cases of injuries which can make exercising more difficult. Always speak to your GP before starting Pilates classes.
There is nothing we can do about the aging process but there is a lot we can do to keep it's affects at bay but this does take some hard work and commitment but the results are can be exceptional. It is crucial to make that leap of faith to commit Pilates classes and make them part of your weekly routine. It really is in your hands!
" Yeah Yeah, I've heard it a hundred times. When you try and make Pilates a part of your routine, you find you just don't have the time..or you don't have the energy....or it's too much work! Well, the time for excuses is over".
Ellie Hardman - Certified Pilates Practitioner.
As the famous actress Bette Davies said:
THE AFFECTS OF AGING:
JOINTS START TO SEIZE UP AFFECTING THE KNEES, ANKLES AND HIPS
As we age we start to lose collagen - the 'glue' that lubricates the joints and keeps our tendons and ligaments in good order - can cause stiffness and lack of flexibility in the body's movements.
The loss of collagen and muscles tone affects the posture and balance so there is more a risk of falling after the age of 65.
HEARING AND SIGHT DETERIORATES
The blood supply to the ears starts to drop away after the age of 60 so our hearing is not so sharp. The muscles in the eyes are also affected by the drop in collagen and our sight does start to deteriorate at around 45.
BALANCE AND STABILITY DECLINES.
Muscle tone starts to decline after the age of 35 and continues to drop steadily every year, unless the amount of exercise is increased to compensate. Sedentary occupations means that we are not using the stabilising and postural muscles enough and they start atrophy (waste away). So that by the time we reach our 50's we have become stiffer, less mobile and more prone to injuries.
Females have the added burden of losing hormones at the menopause that (up to the mid 40's) keep the bones dense and able to withstand injuries and the general wear and tear of life. Coupled with the loss of muscle tone can lead to porous bones and fragmentation of the supporting structures in the spine, hips, wrists and ankles.
Osteoporosis, poor posture, lack of core strength and sedentary occupations can lead to curvature of the upper spine (widow's hump).This can lead to lower back pain as the spine and hips tries to stabilise the body, stiff neck due to the compression of the cervical spine, digestive and breathing problems.
This is when the lower back curves towards the front of body, causing lower back pain, stiffness and lack of flexibility.
This painful condition affects the joints in the hands, wrists, knees, hips and ankles.
Affects the complex joints around the shoulder blade where the tissue becomes inflamed, causing tightness causing pain and discomfort.
This can be related to poor posture, sitting for long periods or upper/lower back pro
HEALTH BENEFITS OF GOING TO PILATES CLASSES.
PILATES IDEAL FOR THE MORE MATURE - LOW IMPACT AND NOT TOO TAXING
Pilates really is for everyone and can be adapted for all shapes and sizes, body types and abilities. If you can lie down you can do mat Pilates classes, if you can sit up unsupported you can do chair Pilates sessions or if you can stand for short periods then there plenty of standing exercises that can be done holding onto a wall for support.
Equipment such as stability balls, Pilates Reformers dynabands and small balls can all be used to assist and support the body in doing Pilates exercises.
Pilates is a low impact and safe form of exercises that can be adjusted to suit those new to Pilates as well as those who would like more of a challenge. The exercises are designed to be done in a slow, methodical manner using the Pilates Principles:
Joseph Pilates designed his Method ('Contrology') to build up the muscles in the back, hips, shoulders and stomach so that the Pilates Powerhouse is created. The Powerhouse (or core of the body) is the main driver in doing the exercises. Once this is working to stabilise the body then balance and spatial awareness is improved, preventing falls and hospitalisation.
Pilates exercises are designed specifically to grow the smaller stabiliser muscles that support the larger mobilising muscles that move the body in all planes of motion. Over-use of the larger muscles (through long periods of sitting, repetitive actions or poor posture) causes an imbalance and stiffness and inflexibility is the outcome.
The smaller muscles in the hips, shoulders and ankles are worked through Pilates exercises and this means that the body is more stable and balanced.
HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS
Pilates - done on a regular basis and combined with a healthy diet - can reduce weight and burn up to 200 calories per hourly session.
REDUCE BACK PAIN
Pilates exercises can strengthen the weaker muscles in the lower back, bottom and hips so that the lower body is stronger and stable. The spine is then able to support the body in the way it is designed to do because the spine is in the correct position.
Pilates exercises builds up the muscles in the shoulders, upper back and chest so that the body is more upright with less slouching and stoop. The muscles in the lower back and stomach are also developed so that the hips, knees and ankles all work together keeping the body stable.
CREATES AND ENHANCES CORE AND POWERHOUSE
Pilates exercises improves muscles tone in the front and back of the body creating a sleek, slimline physique.
HELPS WITH AGE RELATED AILMENTS
Pilates exercises build the muscles around the joints that can be affected by Arthritis, Osteoporosis or Kyphosis so that the joints, ligaments and tendons are better supported, meaning less pain and more flexibility.
INCREASED MUSCLE TONE
Pilates exercises can, over time and commitment, build the muscles in every part of the body in a uniform way so that the body feels lighter and looks slimmer and more toned.
Pilates requires a lot of concentration because the exercises are designed to be done in a slow, methodical manner.
INCREASED FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION
Pilates exercises should be done focusing on breathing to bring oxygen to the muscles and concentrating on what part of the body is being exercised.
IMPROVED SOCIAL LIFE
You get to meet lots of interesting people at Pilates classes!
Pilates needs a lot of oxygen to build the muscles and the heart and blood have to work harder and develop to do their jobs.
INCREASED RANGE OF MOTION
Once the muscles are developed the brain 'let's go' of the joints because it recognises that the joints are now being protected by the muscles. Flexibility starts to return and you will be able to do more that you used to do.
NEW LEASE OF LIFE
Pilates can change your life because the effort of going to Pilates classes means that you are able to do the things you like with more ease.
STIMULATES BRAIN FUNCTION
Pilates takes a lot of thinking about and needs a lot of concentration and focus
STRENGTHENS THE BODY
Pilates exercises are stimulating, fun and rewarding.
You will look more toned, stronger and fitter.
TONED AND TRIM LOOK
INCREASED STRENGTH IN LEGS AND CORE
HELPS WITH JOINT REPLACEMENTS
WHICH CLASS IS BEST FOR ME?
These are great for those who are recovering from joint replacement surgery or find it difficult to get up and down off the floor.
Is for everyone! May be difficult if you find it hard to get up and down off the floor.
A sort of 'turbo charged' fusion of Pilates and Exercising to Music that uses some of the Pilates repertoire.
More physiotherapy lead and the Pilates exercises are adjusted for lower back pain sufferers.
CONTEMPORARY STUDIO PILATES
Great for one-to-one sessions for those who are new to Pilates and want to learn the basics or for injury rehabilitation and sports training.
Joseph Pilates original design of a flat bed with springs and pulleys for those people who would like a more intense work out or want an alternative to mat Pilates.
Pilates classes can be enhanced with stability balls, small balls, bands and Yoga blocks.
WHICH TEACHER IS BEST FOR ME?
He or she should offer you the following:
ONE TO ONE SESSION
PILATES TEACHING QUALIFICATION
WARM UP, PILATES EXERCISES (7 OR 8) COOL DOWN
TAKES TIME TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR BODY
WORKS AT A LEVEL THAT SUITS YOU
PERSONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE
ONGOING LEARNING AND QUALIFICATIONS
HOW LONG HAVE THEY BEEN TEACHING?
TEN CHANGES YOU MIGHT SEE FROM DOING PILATES:
A firmer bottom
A flatter stomach
Less back pain