Best Pilates exercises for older adults to stay fit and healthy
Posted on: 10 August 2016 by James Martin
We all want to be fit! As we get a bit older, certain exercises might become a bit too much for us. Should we then abandon the idea of staying fit and slim? Not at all! With very gentle yet effective Pilates exercises, we can still work on our bodies while at the same time not having to worry about spraining a muscle.
Staying fit isn’t easy at the best of times, and as you get older, it only gets harder. You might think that you are too old to take on any real exercise, but Pilates is a really great way to get healthy because it’s so gentle. Even though you might be taking classes and practising your exercises daily, you won’t strain yourself – and you can even ease aches and pains that you already have.
If you are in need of Physio on certain parts of your body, then you might be able to improve mobility and ease pain with Pilates. Professional physios at Bend + Mend actually recommend it as an option for a lot of their patients. Here are the top three exercises you might want to try as an older adult.
Pilates Kneeling Rear Leg Raise
This one might be a struggle to get into if you have a bad back or knees, but will help you to get those joints working better. Get onto your hands and knees and then extend your right leg back, with your toes pointed and held just above the ground. Try to keep them elevated even if it feels difficult! Next, lift your leg up as high as you can without having to arch your back. This might not be very far at first, but don’t worry – you will get better over time. Bring your leg back down slowly and then try it again on the other side. This exercise will build strength in your core and your legs, giving you stronger glutes and hopefully improving your mobility if you stick at it.
This one sounds exciting, and it really is! You start sitting down on the mat, which is probably music to your ears, with your legs folded to your left side – imagine that you are a mermaid or merman with your legs tucked away inside a tail. Put your right hand on the floor to support yourself, and extend your left arm straight up. Try to keep your shoulder down so that all the movement comes from the arm itself, and lengthen your spine through the stretch. Don’t take it too far and challenge your muscles too much all at once, but you can move your supporting right hand a little to give you more room to stretch if you feel that you are able to. Keep your ribs back and your back straight.
To stretch the other side, simply shift your legs around and repeat everything on the mirrored side. This is a really good way especially in the mornings to get your body working, shaking off all of that stiffness from the night before.
These are so simple and will help your hips to stay flexible while your balance improves, which most older adults could really do with. Lay on your side with your body straight, and then extend your top leg towards the ceiling. Go as far as you can, and then move it counter-clockwise in small circles. Remember not to strain yourself too much, and switch sides when you are ready. Keep an equal amount of circles on each side to get your body moving and flexible.
Pilates can be so beneficial for older people, and since it is such a calm set of exercises, there’s no reason not to try it. Before long you could find that your morning routine is easily enhanced by a set of movements that feel like second nature. You’ll be putting younger relatives to shame with your flexibility!
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