The benefits of Pilates in old age

25 June 2020

The benefits of Pilates in old age

The benefits of Pilates in old age

Joseph Pilates (1883-1967), always determined to improve his physical condition, managed to develop a method of exercises, based on the natural movements of humans and animals, conscious body control and martial arts.

Throughout his life he realized that his exercises could be the “fountain of youth” of the human race, keeping his body and mind healthy for longer, due to the prevention of diseases. He also used his concept to rehabilitate and facilitate recovery from injuries and illnesses. “Correct” breathing is the first of its principles. In addition, his teachings included fluidity, centralization of strength, concentration and precision.

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With all these principles, came Contrology - which is the study of movement control, a term he created from which the well-known Pilates method derived today. The benefits of the exercises are numerous when the method is applied, respecting the individual characteristics. So it can be done from the end of childhood to the end of life. It is applied to several clinical cases of old age, such as chronic pain (more than 3 months in duration) in the back, hips, knees, shoulders and neck. In addition, it provides an improvement in cardio-respiratory capacity, muscle strength and tone, flexibility, balance, motor coordination and freedom of movement for the day-to-day.

Currently, with advances in scientific investigations in the field of physiotherapy, it is possible to identify the factors that can be “worked on” in each individual, with progressive and often adapted exercises. Medical and physical therapy assessment are essential to develop the best clinical exercise program, which we can even call training.

In addition to the physical benefits, an advantage of the Pilates method is the improvement in cognitive and intellectual capacity, as it is a combination of physical and mental work, through breathing, fluidity of movement and maximum concentration. Exercise increases the efficiency with which the nervous system responds to everyone's daily needs, from biological factors (sleep, immunity, hormones, blood pressure, physical effort) to psychosocial factors (emotions, memory, speech, home, work, family), just to mention a few examples.

Therefore, the Pilates method, associated with specific devices and equipment for your practice, is today one of the best options presented to our elderly when they seek an improvement in the quality of life and a healthier old age.

Fig. I - Pilates (devices)

Depending on the assessment and condition of each elderly person, individual sessions may be necessary, but it is also possible to do it in small groups. It can also be excellent as a preventive exercise and to reduce the risk of serious falls and injuries.

Therefore, moving freely and with more quality are the main objectives of Pilates for the elderly.

By Igor Barros, Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor, at Academia Bodylab

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