Being a Pilates instructor, means I meet many different people from all walks of life and all different ages and I can honestly say that one group of adults that I really enjoy teaching are my older adults.
So many of them want to continue to enjoy life and see Pilates as part of the key to helping them to continue with living life to the full.
I have recently qualified as an Older Adults Pilates Instructor, which means I can now teach classes specifically targeted at the over 65’s. I have worked with older adults for many years, but now having the opportunity to be able to offer a class specifically for this group of adults I know will be really rewarding. My oldest client is 80 and it is so inspiring to see how Pilates can keep her active and mobile.
As part of my qualification, I had to design a poster to advertise my new classes and I came up with the concept of Mabel and Rose. Rose is my typical client, who runs after her grandchildren, can get out of chair unaided. Rose goes on a daily walk and enjoys life and when the world is a little bit more back to normal, will hopefully enjoy going on holidays again. As one thing I’ve learnt, is that this particular demographic do love a holiday ☺
I then came up with the concept of Mabel, who is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Unfortunately, Mabel struggles to get out of a chair and is breathless going up stairs. She has lots of aches and pains and as a consequence is quite low in her mood. She is also frightened to go out in case she falls. This can be very common with older adults and especially after the year, we have just experienced, a lot of older people have moved far less, which does, unfortunately, put them at risk of falling.
By doing Pilates for older adults, we can slow down bone mass changes by performing weight bearing and strength based exercises. These are incorporated into my sessions and can then help to reduce the risk of fractures if a fall should happen.
Falls can also be prevented by having better balance and co-ordination. Balance exercises can help strengthen bone mass and this can reduce your chance of a fall by -30%*. I always make sure that we do balance exercises every week in Pilates, because balance is so important, whatever your age.
Other benefits of doing a regular Pilates class is helping to improves cognitive and brain function, which can then help lift your mood. It will also improve sleep, lower blood pressure and help to manage stress.
And don’t just take my word for it, the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) – Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults (Wojtek et al, 2009) did a study and showed that regular exercise has shown to be effective in helping to reduce the risk of developing chronic disease in old age. It reduces the chance of developing of Type II diabetes by 40%*, Cardiovascular disease by 35%* and Joint and Back pain by 25%*.
Loneliness is another reason for low mood and not wanting to do exercise, but by coming to a weekly Pilates class, and having the opportunity to meet new people, can really help and is particularly important if someone lives on their own and doesn’t see many people day to day.
Ageing is inevitable, with loss of muscle mass, strength or function and it’s easy to see how people feel as though they are a Mabel and can’t make the changes needed to become more like Rose, BUT it is possible for a Mabel to become more like a Rose and embrace their inner Rose.
So at least 150 minutes’ moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise* or a combination of both can mean Mabel can become more like Rose.
From mid August, I will be running two Senior Strength and Stability classes in my studio in Wokingham at 2.15pm and 3.30pm each week. If you’d like to find out more, please contact me on 07760 176348, or get in touch here.
*UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines 2011 – Start Active, Stay Active