When you hit your 50’s, it usually around this time in our
lives when we suddenly notice that it’s not as easy to do certain things as it
You might find that getting up and down off the floor isn’t
as easy on the knees, you find that you wake up feeling stiff and achy in the
mornings, you might have trouble reaching up high because you have discomfort
in your shoulder or arm, and bending down hurts your back.
All this creeps up on us slowly, sometimes over a long
period of time. You’ll start to feel those aches and pains one day and wonder
what you’ve done to make it hurt. In fact, you probably haven’t done anything.
It’s just built up over time.
A lot of the discomfort we feel in our bodies is just a
muscular issue from the muscles get tighter and tighter. This is a common
problem if you spend your day sitting at a desk. Muscles tighten up in the neck
and shoulders until one day it really starts to hurt.
Your body can carry a lot of tension before you start to
notice a problem. Knots appear within the muscle fibres as they start to stick
together. If left, this just gets worse, putting even greater strain on
ligament and joints, which can then lead to wear and tear or the joints.
The best way to prevent this is to move your body as much a
possible. You don’t need to do really vigorous exercise; some gentle and
controlled mobility exercises may be all you need to keep the joints healthy
and the muscles free from tension.
This is why I find Pilates so beneficial for the over 50’s
and anyone else in their 60’s and 70’s can find great benefit as well. The
exercises can easily be adapted if you are new to Pilates or even new to
Check our my standing warm up for beginners to get a better understanding of Pilates exercise.
If you have been to one of my classes, you’ll now that at
the beginning of every session, I recap how to stand tall with excellent posture,
so you are ready to exercise. It’s so important to recap this, because, let’s
face it, ten minutes after leaving an exercise class you forget what you were
doing, and don’t often carry those ‘standing tall’ principles with you every
The same applies to the basic exercises. You can think of
them as re-training your bodies movement patterns, and over time, muscle memory
takes over, and suddenly, the exercise becomes easier. The basic exercises also
give us time to think about everything that we’re doing. Focusing on your
breathing makes the exercise easier to perform, co-ordinating your arms and
legs to work together, but most importantly learning how to engage and control
the ‘core’ muscles. These muscles are your powerhouse. They are the deep
underlying abdominal muscles which help you to control all your movements,
ensure that you are well supported around the centre of your body and avoid any
injury, especially to the lower back, while exercising.
I feel that everyone should have that solid foundation of
basic exercises that they practice regularly when first starting out, even if
it seems very repetitive, each time you perform that exercise you’ll learn
something new, or you’ll be able to add in different elements easily.
You may watch one of my beginner exercises and think it
looks really is. But even the easiest of exercises can be challenging if done correctly.
far as I’m concerned, Pilates is the best type of exercise you can do. It’s
great for everyone, regardless of your age or fitness level, there is always
something suitable for you.
is a mat based practice that teaches you how to use your stabilising muscles
(the core) to control movement through the arms and legs. It can be a great
full body workout, as it helps to build stability and strength throughout the
It’s a form of exercise that’s suitable for
everyone, including seniors, helping to change the way you look, feel and move.
It is not a”quick- fix” and you do need to persevere, but the results will be
worth it in helping to improve strength, flexibility and decreasing stress.
power and strength come from your ‘core’ or ‘centre’, working the deep
abdominal muscles to allow following movements while exercising. Pilates
focuses on improving your posture, so when you finish a workout, you’ll feel
like you’re standing up taller, and overtime the strength in the postural muscles
will improve making it feel easier to stand up tall and help reduce any muscular
Pilates is excellent for the rehabilitation of
injuries and can help relieve pain and muscular discomfort. Pilates works all
muscle groups in your body, teaching you to focus, gaining better awareness of your
body and release any muscular tension.
Pilates encourages you to perform movements in a
flowing and controlled way which co-ordinates mind, body and breathing. Quality
of movement is vital, re-learning correct movement patterns and postures,
improving balance, mobility and co-ordination.