Pilates is a powerful anti-aging tool. It is the perfect addition to your anti-aging routine, and can be beneficial for every age group and body type. Pilates classes can keep you young, slowing the aging process and increasing your flexibility, strength and balance. A regular pilates practice helps with focus, memory, flexibility and can even help lower BMI. These are all crucial factors in aging gracefully and enjoying life to the fullest.
Several recent studies have proved that there is a close connection between exercise and our ability to create new brain cells. This improved neurogenesis is most noticeable in the hippocampus - the region responsible for memories and learning. And according to a group of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “people have significantly superior brain function after a mindful movement practice like Pilates or Yoga compared to aerobic exercise.” ¹
This is great news for women during peri-menopause and menopause. Menopause is often associated with a period of brain fog, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating.² The increased focus that comes from regular pilates practice can help reduce this brain fog significantly. “Pilates can be a perfect exercise for premenopausal and menopausal women. It’s low-impact, and it helps increase flexibility, balance and improve muscle strength and tone. It even includes endurance movements.” ³
The improvement of memory through regular Pilates practice can also significantly reduce the risk of memory-related decline. This has huge implications for senior patients with Alzheimer’s. Pilates can also offer relief by promoting mind-body awareness and relief from mental stress.⁴
Is pilates safe for seniors? The easy answer is: yes! From rehabilitative pilates to pilates for injury, there are many great senior pilates options. You might even be able to find private pilates offerings in your area! Growing older does not mean you have to slow down and stop moving. It’s actually quite the opposite. Recent studies have found that embracing new challenges could be the key to retaining youth both mentally and physically. ⁵
You may have heard of the term Super-Ager. This term refers to a group of people in their 70s and 80s who have extraordinarily strong mental and/or physical capabilities, compared to others the same age or younger.⁵ “Dr. Bradford Dickerson, a neurologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital and his colleagues have been studying super-agers for several years. Their results suggest that embracing new mental challenges may be the key to preserving both brain tissue and brain function.” ⁵
Overall, super-agers stay physically fit and have lower symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Movement is one of the biggest factors that plays a role in heart health and memory strength. It can boost brain cell production and could be a buffer against the onset of dementia. “Studies show people who are fit in middle age have a dramatic decrease in their dementia risk.” ⁶
Any regular physical and mental activity reduces health risks, intense physical activity increases aerobic capacity, and intense mental activity preserves areas of the brain involved in memory and reasoning.“ ⁵ So, grab your pilates mat and join a class to reap the benefits of this amazing practice!
If you have any pre-existing conditions or have not been active for a while, consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise.