Pilates is a type of anaerobic exercise that is designed to increase the strength and flexibility of your core muscles. The beauty of Pilates is that it can be done by just about anyone at any fitness level. It involves very little in the way of exercise equipment and can be done anywhere.
Pilates isn’t just for the young, athletic person. Because it doesn’t put undue strain on the heart, it can safely be done by older people, including women over the age of 50 years. It can improve the health of woman over 50 and doesn’t take a heavy toll on the body.
Why Pilates is Good for You
There are many reasons why Pilates can be a good exercise for women over the age of 50 years of age. Some of these benefits include the following:
• Pilates involves an invigorating mind-body workout. Pilates places a heavy emphasis on using proper breathing techniques, aligning your spine correctly, and keeping your pelvic aligned. It involves concentrating on flowing, smooth movements that help you become more in tune to your mind and body. When you do Pilates, you learn to control your movements by practicing quality exercises that focus on the core. There is a focus on breathing to the tune of your movements so that you can use your power to efficiently move your body. By being a mind-body workout, Pilates teaches you how to breathe better, which can be great for women who are under a great deal of stress.
• Pilates helps you develop strong core muscles. Much of the focus in Pilates is the strengthening of the core of your body. The core of your body is the central part of your body—both the abdominal muscles and the back muscles. Pilates helps you strengthen these muscles so that you can move with ease as you go about your day with complete control over these essential core muscles. Pilates can help you find integration between your pelvis, trunk, and shoulder muscles so that they function as a strong unit.
• Pilates helps increase flexibility and allows your muscles to lengthen. Many anaerobic workouts, such as weight lifting or using weight machines will only lead to muscles that are bulky and short. These muscles tend to be more likely to be injured and aren’t the kind of muscles you want to have. Instead of bulky “body-building muscles”, Pilates helps you elongate your muscles, strengthening them at the same time. Your muscles will become more elastic and you will have increased flexibility of your joints. When you achieve these kinds of muscles, you are less likely to become injured.
• Pilates can help you prevent muscle injuries and can improve your performance in other sports. Most other anaerobic workouts work the same muscles over and over again, such as the biceps muscles or quadriceps muscles. Sometimes these muscles are exercised to the exclusion of other muscles. You can easily over-strengthen certain muscles, while other muscles are under-strengthened. In Pilates, all the core muscles are strengthened at the same time so that you have a decreased chance of becoming injured while working out or by doing your ordinary activities of daily living.
• Pilates conditions the entire body. In doing Pilates, you strengthen not only your core muscles but also strengthen the muscles of your extremities. Pilates doesn’t emphasize one set of muscles to the exclusion of other muscles. When you do Pilates, you can function better in daily living and will be better at sports with a decreased chance of becoming injured while doing other types of sports.
• Pilates helps you move with better efficiency. When you do Pilates, you train many different muscles at the same time. Pilates involves doing smooth and continuous motions so that you can train your body to move with more safety, decreasing your risk of falls and the fractures that can come with falling.
As you can see, Pilates is an activity with many benefits for women over 50. If you are interested in doing Pilates as a form of anaerobic exercise, take a Pilates class or purchase a DVD that will teach you how to safely do the exercises. You can practice Pilates every day with a low risk of suffering from any kind of overuse injury to your muscles.