What is Therapeutic Exercise?
As we age, our bodies go through various changes, including a natural decrease in muscle mass and strength. These changes can lead to a range of health problems, such as chronic pain, osteoporosis, and reduced mobility. The good news is that therapeutic exercise such as Pilates can help prevent these issues by keeping your muscles strong and healthy!
In general therapeutic exercise is a type of physical activity specifically designed to improve our physical function and reduce pain. It may include stretching, strengthening, balance, and coordination exercises, depending on our individual needs and abilities.
The Benefits of Pilates for Seniors
Pilates is a type of therapeutic exercise that is not only suitable for young people but also for seniors. There are many benefits to Pilates including greater flexibility, more endurance, better posture, and improved mental health.
Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise that can help improve flexibility, balance, coordination, and strength. It has been found to be beneficial for improving overall physical health. Additionally, Pilates can also help reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Guidance for Practicing Pilates
Pilates can be done in private instruction or in a small group setting with the guidance of an instructor to ensure proper form and technique. If you have never tried Pilates before, t is most beneficial if you start to work with an instructor in sessions with two or fewer people at least until you understand the principles to get the most benefit from this exercise approach.
Managing Chronic Pain
As we age, our muscles weaken, making us more susceptible to injury and hindering simple daily tasks like walking, standing, and lifting objects. Even getting up from a couch may become challenging. Pilates provides a way to strengthen your body, helping you to combat these issues effectively.
While weightlifting is a popular way to gain strength, Pilates offers an alternative. The core principles of Pilates emphasize muscle control while moving your spine or limbs, rather than lifting weights or pushing against resistance. A qualified Pilates instructor can guide you toward what’s most appropriate for your needs.
Pilates is also effective at preventing or managing chronic pain, which is a common issue among older adults. Conditions like arthritis, back problems, and nerve damage can cause chronic pain. However, regular Pilates exercise can help reduce inflammation, increase joint flexibility, and strengthen muscles to prevent or alleviate chronic pain.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that exercise must be done in moderation and under the guidance of an expert. If you have any existing health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, consulting your doctor before beginning a new exercise program is crucial.
An Ideal Exercise for Seniors
Therapeutic exercise and Pilates are essential tools for maintaining muscle strength and preventing pain as we age. By engaging in regular exercise, we can improve our physical function, reduce our risk of injury, and enjoy a higher quality of life. Whether you prefer strength training or stretching, there’s an exercise program out there that can meet your needs and goals. With the help of a well-qualified professional, you can develop a safe and effective exercise plan that’s right for you.
By doing Pilates regularly, active older adults can enjoy many of the benefits associated with regular exercises such as improved cardiovascular health, better circulation, and improved posture. Additionally, Pilates can help to prevent falls by improving balance and coordination.
Five reasons why Pilates is an ideal exercise as we age:
In closing, here are the five reasons:
1) Pilates helps reduce pain and improve your quality of life.
2) Pilates improves muscle tone and strength, especially in older people who are experiencing muscle weakness due to age or chronic conditions such as arthritis.
3) Pilates exercises help prevent falls among seniors by improving balance and functional movement patterns, like walking, running, climbing stairs, etc., that may be lost due to frailty or injury.
4) The resistance training involved can boost bone density as well as increase flexibility in joints that have become less mobile with age (for example knees).
5) Pilates has been shown to be effective in strengthening the respiratory muscles and enhancing breathing.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of therapeutic fitness and Pilates, we invite you to contact us and discuss how each type of exercise can be tailored to meet your needs based on your abilities, fitness level, and goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Gladfelter, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Women's Health Physical Therapy Specialist at PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness
Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, educator, author, and co-founder of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness. She is known as a keen, well-rounded expert of healing through movement and women’s health specialist in the Silicon Valley area.
Kim has helped men and women of all ages to stay active and feel their best. She also writes about managing pain in her health columns, blogs and the local Los Altos Town Crier newspaper as well as reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries, and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and therapeutic exercise.