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Mid-Southerners age 50 and better

Older adults realize physical and mental health benefits from Pilates

Nov 7, 2012, 12:34 p.m.
Achieving fitness, flexibility and mental wellness with pilates

The health benefits of yoga are very well known, but now older adults are discovering new benefits from practicing Pilates exercises. Pilates is slightly different from yoga, but also offers an excellent means of achieving body fitness, flexibility and mental wellness. Pilates was new back in the 1920s, when creator Joseph Pilates brought to the fitness community awareness of his program that is focused on strengthening the core area of the body, boosting flexibility and improving coordination.

Pilates is a gentle type of exercise method that is especially popular with older adults. Those who practice this routine claim they have renewed energy and better strength, muscle tone, posture, stamina and core strength. The main difference is that with Pilates, you not only utilize yoga style breathing and meditation, but also incorporate weight bearing and balancing movements into the routine. Also, the Pilates routines that are similar to weight training and Tai Chi increase in difficulty as the student gains skill.

Easy to learn, Pilates is highly recommended for students of all ages and abilities, including women who have recently delivered a child. It can benefit those who have special pain related problems that occur with normal aging, such as back pain, fibromyalgia, spine and shoulder pains. In addition, Pilates can help those who are super fit to maintain their fitness edge. It is excellent for any person who would like to improve their body shape and definition.

Stiffness and common aches and pains can be relieved to some degree by the benefits from Pilates exercises. Students of all ages enjoy Pilates because it is different, combines elements of several fitness routines, and because it is easy to begin. With experience, students increase the exercise difficulty, which helps stimulate blood circulation, muscle tone and strength and mental wellness. It can help redefine body shape, but it is not hard to do or stressful like some weight training routines.

This thoughtful program of exercises is designed for an easy start with floor exercises and special equipment. The ultimate result is to create a nicely balanced and aligned body that moves freely. Pilates is welcomed by many older citizens who want to continue to be active and physically and mentally fit in their advancing years.

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