Pilates: Not Just for Seniors

Everyone benefits from Pilates no doubt about it. But Seniors obtain a bigger bang for the buck. The gains in mobility and function from a regular pilates practice are noticeable. After a single session, clients remark on how much better they feel – taller, more stretched out, less pain from a nagging body part. It’s not in their imagination – it’s in their fascia.

As we age, it’s often the soft tissue parts of the body that experience the first signs of wear and tear. Why does your knee hurt? Because over time, repeated small injuries and stress from overuse have worn away cartilage, ligaments, tendons and fascia; all the “cushioning’ or soft tissue parts of your joint.

Why does your shoulder hurt? Because your posture has deteriorated over time and allowed the soft tissue structures to become inflamed. Heavily innervated with pain sensors, soft tissue structures are responsible for most of our chronic nagging aches. Don’t ignore the pain – it’s just creating more inflammation – do Pilates.

Stress in our joints comes from a variety of factors. Posture plays an important part and more importantly the change in our posture through the decades. Our posture responds to the shape of your body most of the time. If you sit working at a computer most of the day, the shoulders will start to round and the head juts forward. Can you prevent it? Of course! Just sit tall all day with focus on good posture (which is much easier said than done) or come to pilates. Give your body a chance to remember what it’s suppose to feel like.

Repetitive activities cause stress in the body particularly if they are unilateral. The fascia, the thick covering that surrounds and runs through all of the tissues of the body, is responsive to your movements. If you twist only to the left, the fascia will start to model itself to twist left and not so much right. This creates imbalances in the body, which in turn leads to stress on the joints. Pilates corrects this imbalance.

Fascia is like play dough. If you don’t move it and mold it everyday it gets tough, inelastic and prone to cracking. You then feel stiff and achy. Pilates is one of the best tools for combating stressed fascia. It moves the body along fascial lines and in all planes of motions to restore balance and flexibility. Movements are varied and include some plyometric or jumping type sequences to improve elasticity.

Fascia is nourished through movement. Stale water containing toxins are pushed out of the fascia as it’s compressed with pilates exercise and allows fresh water (plasma) to wash in and hydrate. Clients learn that feeling stiff and achy is a good reason to come to pilates and move, and that “resting” just makes it worse.

Pilates clears those worry tracts. It takes concentration to move your body to verbal instruction.   You have to pay attention. The equipment is moving challenging balance and the sense of where your body is in space. The goal is to move with grace or scientifically stated, tune up the proprioceptors. A graceful body looks healthier and grace in movement prevents falls.

Pilates is good for every body but necessary for Seniors. Stay active and free from aches and pains with Pilates.

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