By in Haven on the Lake, Health and Wellness, Mind Body Classes
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Pilates helps seniors stay balanced

By Tracy Dye

For many, the word Pilates spurs images of taut abs and beach-ready bodies. While a toned, lean physique is often a nice side effect of a regular Pilates practice, the origin of this system of exercises is actually one of health and healing. In the 1920s, Joseph Pilates used the practice to treat war veterans and dancers who had suffered injuries.

Today, Pilates remains a powerful tool for rehabilitation and injury prevention. The elderly in particular can reduce certain risks thanks to Pilates. One way the exercises can help seniors is by preventing falls. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of death and injury in those 65 and older.

A study from the UK found that nine individuals between the ages of 60-76 were able to improve their balance and potentially decrease their risk of falling after participating in an eight-week Pilates program.

A larger study vetted 60 female participants ages 65 and older who took one-hour Pilates sessions three times a week for 12 weeks. At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that all participants experienced improvements in these areas.

  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Reaction time
  • Muscle strength

Researchers also found that the women showed a decreased propensity to falls.

When it comes to injury prevention, Pilates and other weight-bearing exercises can increase bone density, which can decrease the risk of injuries like hip fractures in the case of elderly falls. Because Pilates is a low-impact exercise, it is more protective of the joints and connective tissue and can therefore be practiced by most people. Class levels and types vary, so talk to your primary care provider before starting a new Pilates practice.

Get started

At Haven on the Lake, we offer a variety of Pilates options that will help you reach your wellness goals. Here, you will find a quality of classical instruction, unequaled anywhere else, available in group, small group or private settings. For more information, click here or call 410-715-3020.

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Along with a variety of mind body classes and healing environments, Haven features a variety of special events and workshops to help you recover, reconnect and revive. Find a full listing of events (and how you can host your own) here. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the latest happenings.