Friday, November 20, 2009

Age Gracefully

Recently I have noticed an increase in elderly clients utilizing Pilates as a way to age more gracefully. No matter their age I have worked with clients who have arthritis, osteoporosis or herniated discs. Pilates has proved both to me and the individual that quality of life can improve in as little as a few sessions. Once you learn to work in proper alignment and engage posture muscles, pain will decrease, allowing your body to move more efficiently.

Pilates benefits older clients in several ways:
  • Low impact
  • Fully body workout
  • Helps lubricate stiff joints
  • Safe for beginners
  • Keeps mind sharp with variety of exercises and coordination
  • All exercises can be modified if necessary
  • Control/stability necessary for balance
  • Prevent slouching with strong core muscles for posture
  • Good for rehab from surgeries
  • Can increase bone density with use of spring based resistance
Even just learning the basics of breathing a scooping are important. These two principles can be taken outside of the studio and practiced throughout the day such as while sitting in the car, watching television or even waiting in line at the store. Pilates promotes independence as clients age. They will notice that aches and pains are less than before and they stand taller. Exercises such as coccyx curls, shoulder mobilization and hip escalator are wonderful additions clients can add to their at home workout routines. Even practicing scooping helps to improve your pelvic floor muscles (working much like a kegal) to aid in preventing frequent urination.

Be sure to seek a well certified instructor at a Pilates studio instead of a DVD or gym atmosphere if available. This will allow you to get one-on-one attention to ensure the exercises are appropriate for your ability to prevent injury. Some places do offer mat or equipment classes with a more gentle or beginner approach for the elderly so be sure to inquire. Even if you just start out by going once a week you will see improvements in your range of motion and flexibility. Overall, Pilates will teach you to move with ease and remain youthful, no matter your age.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pilates DVD Queue

We all can't make it to class or the studio as often as we would like, so videos are an option to ensure you get a workout into your schedule. Here's some Pilates DVDs out there for you or your loved ones to add to your collection this holiday season:

  • Balance Ball for Weight Loss (Gaiam)
Pilates taken to the balance ball gives you a more advanced workout. You can chose to do only a few sections if you are short on time or the full hour. Requires you purchasing a ball for home, but is well worth the results for those that want to take Pilates to the next level.

  • Rael Pilates System 17
Well experienced Rael leads you in a challenging mat workout with beautiful cuing. You will stretch and tone your way to the body of a graceful dancer in less than an hour. A little more advanced than his System 7, but not as challenging as System 27.

  • Winsor Piates: 20 Minute Workout
For those who have a busy schedule and are looking for a nice complement outside of regular classes. Modifications are shown, but this is more for someone with some prior mat Pilates background. The side leg series section is a personal favorite of mine.

  • Classical Pilates Technique with consideration of the Neck & Back
Classical mat workouts that shows modifications for those with neck and back issues. Great for those who want to learn safe exercises to practice at home. There is even a "Pre-Pilates" section which takes you through the movements in detailed precision.

  • Pilates for Every Body (Denise Austin)
For those who prefer more of an aerobic pace (or Denise Austin). She incorporates the use of resistance bands and a chair or wall for added props to add variety. Not the best with instruction of Pilates principles or modifications though unfortunantely.

  • Stott Pilates: Fitness Circle Challenge
A magic circle is a great addition to your at home routine and this video is educational to boot. In a little over a half hour you will get toned in a full body mat routine. Stott has wonderful instructional videos and this is no exception.