As we age, there are many changes that occur to our bodies. From wrinkles and grey hair to changes to our muscles, bones, and joints. Two conditions that can affect our bones include Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis. The first is when cartilage within our joints break down and the second is when bones lose mass and become brittle. Both conditions can cause pain, stiffness and increase the risk of fractures as well as falls. If we look at the body holistically, we can then see how conditions such as these can then affect our muscles and our overall function.
So how does this all tie in with reformer Pilates? Exercise can prevent many of these age-related changes to our body. It helps to slow the rate of bone density loss with weight-bearing exercise being the best type for the maintenance of bone mass. The Australian guide for people aged over 65 years is to do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most, if not all days.
Reformer Pilates is beneficial for individuals of all age groups but especially a great option for those over the age of 60. This is because it can be a low impact program that strengthens the entire body whilst also working on flexibility and stability. Your Reformer’s offering of having a reformer in the comfort of your own home is an excellent low-cost option for those that may not have the ability or desire to go to a local gym or are just unsure what to do. It is something that even those new to commencing exercise can do.
The instructor guided classes on the Your Reformer OnDemand App are easily accessible and ensure you are meeting your daily movement requirements. One of the great benefits of the reformer apparatus is that it is a single piece of equipment with so much functionality. The spring tension can be adjusted according to the persons needs and abilities in a safe manner. This allows for exercise modification around pre-existing injuries such as back pain, all whilst ensuring core stability remains the focus. The bonus is that using a reformer also helps you stretch which in turn assists in maintaining joint flexibility as we age.
As many exercises can be completed on your back or in a seated position it makes it easier for individuals to perform and is safe on joints. As we age, our spines natural curvature increases, and reformer Pilates is a great way to focus on spinal alignment and back strength without overloading the individual. This allows them to continue with their activities of daily living and put into practice movements and breathing patterns they have learnt in their session.
As previously mentioned, using the reformer assists in maintaining strength and muscle mass which helps maintain a healthy body weight. Using techniques learnt in reformer pilates sessions will help increase the ability to move and function better every day, which further reduces the risk of falls and other injuries.
Alongside the benefits of reducing the severity, or chances of developing age-related conditions, being active everyday helps improve sleep, concentration and brain function.
No matter your age, it is never too late to get moving!
Dr. Danielle Tjahjana (Osteopath)
Clinical Pilates Instructor