Pilates and Balance in Elderly
As we age, we lose physical strength, bone density and our cognitive abilities decline, our sense of balance deteriorates and we take longer to recover from a fall. With age and inactivity, the unconscious processes your brain goes through to help you balance may not integrate as well or as quickly as they used to, resulting in a fall.
To reduce the risk of falling, you can slow the process of deterioration with Pilates exercise. Pilates focuses primarily on strengthening deep internal muscles of the abdomen, lower back and hips often referred to as the “powerhouse”.
The largest benefit of Pilates is developing a strong core; the most important thing aiding in mobility and balance. Whether you are practicing Pilates on the mat or with equipment your balance will be challenged on a scale from moderate to high based on your current ability to perform an exercise.
The Physiotherapist Evidence Database has conducted two studies, one on falls in elderly and the other on Pilates exercise for improving balance in older adults. The group of people chosen had reported at least one measure of balance or falls and was further divided into two groups; one group participated in no exercise while the other group practiced in Pilates exercise 2 or more times a week over a period of 5 to 24 week. The result had concluded a significant reduction in falls amongst elderly that have participated in Pilates exercise.
A common statement that I often hear from my elderly clients is “I have never noticed how good my balance is in comparison to the majority of my friends who cannot put their shoes on while standing.”
Although Pilates doesn't just improve balance for elderly, it also increases balance amongst younger individuals and athletes and therefore Pilates is recommended for everyone.
Pilates truly is a life-changing movement.