The benefits of Pilates on body and mind
Exercise is important for everyone, but aerobic exercise can put a lot of strain on the heart, lungs and joints.
For people over 50, Pilates can be a good alternative to aerobic sports as it’s a lower impact regime but with huge benefits.
Pilates has become one of the world’s leading physical fitness systems over the last 50 years and it shows no sign of waning. But what exactly is Pilates – and what are its benefits?
Regular pilates practise can help improve posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility, as well as relieve stress and tension.
In many ways, Pilates is similar to yoga, the ancient Indian physical and spiritual practice that’s now very popular in the west. But Pilates is a much more recent invention, and was developed by the German Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. Like yoga, it is typically taught in classes of varying sizes, and each student has a soft oblong mat on which various routines are performed.
Essentially, Pilates exercises help to condition the body, improving muscle strength, flexibility and balance, and helping to develop a strong centre. There are six Pilates principles:
If you attend a Pilates class, you’ll find that the variety of exercises you have to perform will incorporate these principles in various combinations. So by the end of your class – which usually lasts around an hour – your body will have engaged in all six principles.
As in yoga, breathing plays an especially important role, with students encouraged to breathe in deeply through the nose and out through the mouth, expelling all hair from the lungs. Try closing your eyes and practising this routine for a few minutes to test if you would enjoy Pilates. For some people, simply breathing in this manner helps them re-connect with their body and can bestow a sense of calm.
Who can do Pilates?
Perhaps the primary reason behind the popularity of Pilates is that anyone can do it. You don’t have to be flexible to start a Pilates class, because that’s what you’ll be taught when you get there. Pilates is a challenging discipline, but it’s not about beating somebody else’s best run time or an opposing team. It’s about re-connecting with your body and understanding its strengths and weaknesses. So it’s ideal if you want to pursue a form of exercise that’s rigorous and fulfilling, but simultaneously relaxing.
One of the main focuses of Pilates is spinal and pelvic alignment. As a result, it’s particularly popular with pregnant women and women who have just given birth. Its muscle-strengthening benefits mean that it is also very beneficial for over 50s. That’s because, as you get older, you start to lose muscle mass and engaging with a regular Pilates routine will help strengthen those muscles in the long-term.
Remember, Pilates is not a competition: if your body refuses to get into a particular position or your joints hurt, you don’t need to continue that particular exercise. It’s about knowing your body’s limits and getting the best out of it without causing yourself pain.
If you’re still undecided, you can find out more about Pilates from reputable sources like the BBC and the NHS. But perhaps the best way is simply to find a drop-in class in your area, and see first-hand if Pilates is for you.
Have you tried a Pilates class? Would you recommend it to a friend?
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers.com will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.
Have you got a health question?
We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Click below to submit your query online.
* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.
Latest posts by Sally - Silversurfer's Editor (see all)
- The skies are now open…but is your travel insurance adequate? - September 25, 2020
- 8 reasons your dog has no appetite - September 24, 2020
- Will you be downloading the new tracing app today? - September 24, 2020
- Have the new coronavirus rules gone far enough? - September 23, 2020
- How to Help People With Dementia - September 20, 2020
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!