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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 once was.

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 exercise.

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 day.

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.

As 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.

Pilates 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 body.

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.

Your 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 discomfort.

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.