Seniors Exercises: Benefits of Resistance Exercise:
- Slowing agingprocess by building muscle mass and strength.
- Raising metabolic rate – an important factor in maintaining body weight.
- Resistance exercise ha bseen shown to build bone. Osteoporosis is a condition of accelerated bone mineral loss which leads to fractures and can be a crippling disease, particularly in women. In fact, over the age of 60, 50% of Australian women have osteoporosis and 30% of men. So take heart and know that research on resistance exercise suggests that it can build bone in this age group.
|Here is the link for your exercise program, but before you leave this page, it’s important to read the information given here.
EXERCISE PROGRAM SENIORS .
- There is some evidence that resistance exercise help lower moderately high blood pressure.
- Better strength, particularly core strength, improves balance and can lead to fewer falls as we age. You can do resistance exercises with the use of free weights, resistance bands, balance balls and indeed, your very own body weight is a fine weight bearing exercise tool.
Just a few more pointers about FLEXIBILITY, before we move on to specific exercises: Tendons shrink and joints become stiff over time leading causing the loss of flexibility and mobility. However,your ILLUSTRATED STRETCHING EXERCISES are easy to perform and will give you suppleness and, in some cases, a pain free body. Follow this link.
- Balance: Each year, hospitals see thousands of senior patients for broken hips due to falling. Our BALANCE EXERCISES can help you avoid injuries from falls and keep you independent and mobile. NB For those of you who may be chair-bound, please visit our specific illustrated CHAIR EXERCISES exercises specific to suit your needs.
- Posture: Seniors spend their life, doing things “forward” of their bodies. Think about how you constantly are using your hands in front of your body, or bending forward over a book or newspaper. Being mindful of your posture by using our POSTURE EXERCISES that you’ll find if you click here.
- Mental & Emotional: Seniors sleep better with a good exercise regime. You’ve earned it! Your self confidence will improve when all those happy hormones start to pump through your body..
You don’t want to look like this, however, BACK PAIN is a huge problem for many as we age and pot bellies are hugely responsible for it. We have lots of information and exercise examples together with exercise stretches on this page. Please have a look at LOWER BACK EXERCISES However, be mindful to check with your health practitioner before commencing any strong exercises. Start gently!!)
Balance exercises: Balance happens in the brain. Scientific evidence suggests that our habitual practice of wearing shoes limits the necessary sensory feedback to our brain.
When we walk or exercise bare-footed, our brain receives many different kinds of imput especially on uneven surfaces. Shoes are relatively flat which spreads the stimulus, limiting how touch guides our foot control. As we get older we use walking sticks and frames, which further hastens the decline because we are not exercising our brain
|Before you go the the EXERCISES which begin at the bottom of this page, please read the following information. It’s important.|
Some people look down to their feet while walking which also blocks the stimulus, because we’re not getting information from our brain to our feet and back again. We are also in this case relying on our visual stimulus. This process is called bio feedback. We need to stop looking down and carefully practice “listening to our feet” so they can re-learn to make a new improved brain map. It’s never too late to improve.
There’s a familiar saying that not only refers to one part of your anatomy, which suggests: IF YOU DONT USE IT, YOU LOSE IT. So, get cracking with some balance exercises!
These exercises can be as simple as standing barefooted on one foot. Taking your shoes off is important. So, when you’re cutting up the carrots for dinner, stand for a while on one foot. Then do so on the other foot. You’ll feel all those little muscles in your feet working well.
Once you’ve perfected your carrots routine, you’ll be looking for something a little more challenging, this exercise on the left is excellent – and good fun! This PIC is the starting position. Progress from this position to each of the positions at the top of the page.
Good balance and good posture go hand in hand. Improving balance will improve core strength, especially if you also do some of our Core Strength Exercises. A strong core abdominal centre, will impact greatly on your posture. You’ll stand taller, feel heaps more confident and have a beautiful posture.
Ladies, find useful and practical Menopause Weight Gain help here including diet, exercise and lifestyle choices as you experience the changes that mid-life brings.
Some people look down to their feet while walking which also blocks the stimulus, because we’re not getting information from our brain to our feet and back again.Theseeasy Balance Exercises of chinese origins develop this grounding.
|Your BALANCE exercises continue here at this link:More EXERCISES for BALANCE|
Doing posture exercises is an important part of any pilates routine, in fact, it’s the core of it. It’s difficult to say here, just which muscles you need to strengthen, but if you do the Posture Check-up below, you will have a clearer idea yourself and can then follow links to those posture exercises or stretches you need.
Some of us seem to have been born with a perfect posture, and the rest of us have to work at it. If you have good spinal alignment and healthy muscles, there’s a good chance you also have a good posture. However, that’s not always the case unfortunately. A healthy spine consists of 4 natural curves – cervical (neck)is curved in, thoracic (upper back)curved out, lumbar (mid back)curved in again and the sacral (lower back)out again – all in good alignment. Unfortunately bad posture = unhealthy spine.
|TIP! – Pot Belly?
All that excess weight puts a huge strain on lower back.
You will also need to do lower back exercises – because, they’re sure to be weak. Check this link….
What is a correct stance?
Bend knees slightly; contract tummy muscles & point tailbone down to floor; draw shoulder blades gently down back; head up & back sitting on top of spine. PERFECT!
If however any muscles attached to the spine are tight, your alignment and posture will be affected. Here are 3 examples:
1. Upper Body:
We do so much activity requiring arms forward of the body (computer, driving, gardening etc). These activities shorten pectoral (chest) muscles and lengthen back muscles causing problems in the thoracic spine and wreck upper body posture and good alignment.
2. Upper Back & Neck Pain: This then causes a lot of upper back and neck pain. In the worst case scenario, the shoulder blades may drift up your back and a “hump” may form. Another result of this front-of-body activity is tight chest muscles, and as long as they are tight, it is difficult to strengthen the back. So, you need to know about posture exercises which will improve the situation.
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH MUSCLES TO STRETCH?
Below, you will find an analysis to help you determine just which muscles are causing your posture difficulty. You’ll also keep up to date by receiving our monthly magazine which features useful information on exercises and stretches.
3. Inflexibility: If we spend a lot of time sitting, not only do we end up looking as unhappy as this chap does, but hamstring muscles at the back of your legs, shorten and quads (at the front of legs) lengthen which may cause misalignment of the pelvis and back pain. So you need to check out our STRETCHES pages, for excellent stretching exercises, advice and examples.
Additionally, another posture problem involves the head. It weighs around 5 kilograms (that’s heavy!) If there is weakness in the upper back, the trapezius muscle will be compromised, the head will drift forward out of alignment, and headaches and tension will develop.
Strong muscles hold your skeleton in place giving you good alignment and hence posture, but if there is a weakness in those muscles, your posture will suffer. It’s worthwhile doing our FREE Posture Corrector Test to determine just which muscles you need to work on. This will be made available to you when you register for our monthly NEWSLETTER. Pilates exercises and exercise stretches are the best way to achieve a good posture giving you the WOW factor,confidence and comfort.
I’ts an excellent idea to improve core strength, so check the link below to find our best abdominal exercises.
Stability Ball Exercises
Stability Ball Exerciseswork on your body in a number of ways. It fact it’s the unstable nature of the ball that forces the use of your deep stabilizing muscles.
These stability ball exercises are capable of giving you a full body workout with the added benefit of improved balance.
The loss of balance often has devastating consequences, and as time goes on, this is VERY important thing to consider.
Even if you are in your 20’s or 30’s, you should think about this.
Firstly, working with the stability ball helps to strengthen core muscles, that goes without saying – after all, you’re at a Pilates website and the central tenet of Pilates is core strength! So, check out our CORE STRENGTH EXERCISESon the following pages.
Secondly, you may not be aware that balance actually happens in the mind first. If you havn’t already read how this comes about, we have collected very interesting research that should be very worthwhile to read HERE. before beginning.
Other suggestions for using a pilates stability ball include pelvic curls with legs propped atop the ball, or squats holding the ball in front, and lifting it above your head as you bend knees.
This exercise begins with hands under head and head back ON the ball. Feet wide apart for good balance. Then lift up, exhaling and curling forward if you wish, and return head back on to the stability ball as you inhale. (Breathing sound odd? Take a breath in first. It’s best to lift on the exhale).
Two stability ball exercises in this position: 1. Lower legs to about 45 degree angle inhaling as you do, and lift back up on the exhaled breath. 2. Leg Circles…Nice big circle to the right inhaling and then to the left, exhaling.
Don’t hold this position too long. Start with ball under thighs, then under knees, then ankles. It’s also the starting position for the next exercise – the Lift.
This is a very advanced exercise, so take care. Looks great, doesn’t It?
This is also a very advanced exercise. Don’t try that unless you are very confident about your core and lower back strength – this will challenge it!
Core Strength Exercises
Core Strength Exercises – here are 3 of the BEST
The core we refer to, is your torso – from top of your neck to base of the spine, and all muscles in an around the area. Core muscles not only include “the six-pack” but also levels of abdominal muscles that wrap around your torso, pelvic floor and also back.
These include: rectus abdominal, transverse abdominal, the pelvic floor, back muscles and the abdominal obliques. All these muscles are very important – most back pain is attributed to weak abdominals.
The rectus, tranverses and obliques are responsible for bending and flexing. However when you’re doing crunches and sit-ups you’re using mostly the rectus muscle and not much else. You won’t gain too much core strength – but you will get a good looking six-pack!
So how do I exercise core muscles?
- core strength exercise here will work your oblique muscles.
- In this position lift across the body – left armpit to right knee and vice versa.The obliques are the muscles around the waist area and consist of the external obliques and the internal obliques. The obliques engage when you want to twist and bend sideways. They’re a bit like an old fashioned corset – and that’s what they do – support you.
A quintessential pilates core strength exercise – the “HUNDREDS”:
Hold this position, and pump arms up and down slowly. Inhale for 2 breaths and exhale for 2.
The SINGLE LEG STRETCH is another fantastic abdominal core strength exercise.
In this position, stretch out the left leg, placing your hands on the right knee. Then change to the opposite. Inhale on one side, and exhale on the other.
Additionally, if you pick up a ball, the possibilities are endless….Check out our Stability Ball Exercises page. Ball exercises are fabulous for improving core strength.
You will also need to work on lower back exercises and stretches. You can find them here at : Lower Back Exercises and Lower Back Stretches
The transverse abdominal wrap around your body like a girdle. Although evidence suggests that these muscles are automatically engaged before exercise, pilates methods encourage you to learn how to “turn on” those muscles during exercise.
There are 2 ways of doing this:
- Imagine a small zip from the naval to the pubis bone (just like your jeans). Now close the zip from the pubis to naval – ZIP UP! This is done on the EXHALED BREATH.
- The pelvic floor muscles using the Pelvic Floor Technique is another method of “turning-on” those core muscles as you exercise. Pelvic Floor Exercises are much neglected with our exercise routines – and are ESSENTIAL to help develop core strength. They have the added benefit of involving ALL core muscles. It’sso very important to do them – no matter how old you are.
This VIDEO below is a more advanced exercise….
Resistance Band Exercises
Resistance Band Exercises:A resistance band (or theraband) provides resistance exercise.
What is resistance you ask; and how does it work for exercise?
It’s weight bearing exercise without using weights.
The development of muscle tone and strength, is caused by microscopic tears in muscle fibres. When a fibre istorn, in the process of repairing itself, it will grow stronger. This is what is referred to as “anabolism” which means “to grow” and this is what happens with resistance exercise. And we don’t need anabolic steroids to do it!
What are the benefits of resistance exercise?
We lose 2.25 kg of muscle every decade after age 30.The number of muscle fibres declines with age. From age 30 to age 70 we can lose more than 25% of strength fibres.. Resistance exercise can slow down or even reverse this process.
How do I do resistance exercise?
Pilates studio equipment is resistance equipment. The reformer, cadillac, and the wunda chair, all use systems of pulleys and springs to create resistance.If you prefer, small inexpensive equipment such as the magic circle and Stability Ball, are fantastic. This page however, is devoted to resistance band exercises which will help provide you with an excellent fitness regime.
Shoulder Exercise 1.Start with holding the band up over your head with slight tension. Stetch the band out to the side to this position.
Shoulder Exercise 2.Start with resistance band held with loose tension in this position and stretch out to sides at chest height.
Pelvic Floor Exercises – The Facts.
Pelvic Floor Exercises (or Kegel’s): Pelvic floor muscles are the layer of muscles that support the organs the bladder and bowel in men, and bladder, bowel and uterus in women. To view a page written specifically for our male readers, please click here for Kegel Exercises Men.
These muscles are a bit like a sling or platform. They extend from the pubic bone (at the front) to tailbone or coccyx (at the base of your spine) and between sitting bones (side to side).
SEE -Anatomy of urinary bladder and pelvis with pelvic floor muscles (dark red curve). They are part of what we call “core” muscles. Others are your diaphragm, transverse abdominus (the one that flattens your tummy) and multifidus (either side of lumbar spine) All of these muscles are activated and strengthened during exercise.
|How do I do it?PELVIC FLOOR TECHNIQUEYou have a couple of options, so read instructions carefully. You’ll truly benefit. Don’t worry if you don’t get it at first, I guarantee that, with practice, you’ll manage. Good luck!|
Why do these muscles weaken?
At this stage, it would be useful to read through the these reasons and the RISK FACTORS here at: Bladder Control Exerciseyou need to avoid, before going further. Then come back to this page. You will need to eliminate these factors, or at least modify them, before you will be able to enjoy the full benefits.
You may also wish to know more about MENOPAUSE. For an Holistic Doctor’s account of Menopause, visit this link for valuable insight into the Menopause Challenge.
What are the Benefits?
- improved control over bladder and bowel function
- reduced risk of prolapse (i.e. ‘sagging’ of internal organs)
- better recovery from childbirth and surgery
- increased sexual sensation and orgasmic potential
- increased social confidence and quality of life.
- Core Strength Strong muscles provide support to the organs above.They help hold you upright
- They are integral in “turning on” other abdominal muscles such as the transverses abdominals for developing core strength in pilates.
- They work with back muscles to stabilise and support the spine.
TIP Strangely, it is beneficial to hold visiting the toilet from as long as is comfortable to “train” those muscles to hold the load. That in itself, is one of our pelvic floor exercises. Also, drink lots of water because the bladder has difficulty coping if you are not properly hydrated.
| How about giving your guests a little entertainment when they use your loo? They’ll exit with a smile on their face, apart from learning something new with this little POEM.
Right-click to download this PDF file here.
Osteoporosis Risk Factors
Osteoporosis Risk Factors:
Are you running the risk of fracture? The answer is YES if you have osteoporosis, osteopoenia, or low bone density. Give yourself a check-up and investigate and understand fully how you need to change your many of the action you do.
Ask yourself these Questions…
• Do you bend over to sweep the floor or vacuum?
• Do you walk with your toes pointing out to the side?
• Do you lean over your computer?
• Do you bend over to pick things up off the floor or even bend forways to pull your socks up?
• Do you sit or stand with poor posture?
• Do you do sit-ups or crunches?
• Do you do step aerobics?
• Do you kick-box?
• Do you door floor exercises, moving legs sideways and twisting around?
• Do you bike-ride, bending forward towards the handlebars?
• Do you slouch on the couch?
• Do you play golf?
• Do you play tennis without moving the whole body for a backhand stroke?
• Do you lie in bed or on the couch for more than 9 hours a day?
• Do you lift objects weighing more than 4 kilos?
• Do you lean forward when you are getting up from a chair?
All of these situations are potentially dangerous for someone with low bone density. You will be able to rectify some of these situations, but not all. So, sadly, some must be eliminated while you adopt good habits such as Pilates Exercises.
Exercises for Osteoporosis
Exercises for Osteoporosis:In Australia, around half of all women and one third of men over 60, have osteoporosis. Women are more susceptible because menopausal hormonal changes worsen bone loss.
Regular weight-bearing exercises throughout life are known to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. However, recent research suggests that people with existing osteoporosis can also benefit with weight bearing exercises using resistance. Of equal importance as weight bearing, “on the inside”, are pelvic floor exercises. When the pelvic floor muscles are engaged properly, major core muscles also engage. It would be worth your while to visit our pages on the Pelvic Floor Technique – if you’re not sure how to engage this vitally important muscle group.
|There are a number of other pages on this website, that will be of help to you. Just ensure that you use the golden rules(see below) with NO FORWARD FLEXION:For general Seniors Exercises: Exercise Program for Seniors.
For Balance Exercises: Balance Exercises
For general exercises: Pilates Exercises
For general stretches: Illustrated Stretching Exercises
A sedentary lifestyle increases the loss of bone mass but you find exercises for osteoporosis builds muscle strength and improves balance, reducing the likelihood of falling which is the cause of most fractures. Balance is extremely important. Go to our Balance Exercises page when you have finished here, for more information.
|You’ll find PICS of EXERCISES below, but first a WARNING!
Five Golden Rules for Osteoporosis Exercises:
1. No flexion. Flexion is bending the spine forward at the hip and shoulder girdles– both in standing and sitting. This eliminates a plethora of exercises for osteoporosis, including sit-ups.
2. No excessive weight on your wrists if you have osteoporosis in that area.
3. No abduction(which means lifting your leg sideways).
4. Do not twist the spine, turning around sideways.
5. Do not sit or stand with poor posture.
Exercising regularly reduces the rate of osteoporosis bone loss, and the risk of osteoporosis fractures but it must be the CORRECT type of exercise. Pilates is all about resistance exercises. Perfect!
Benefits of osteoporosis exercises:
• Conservation bone tissue
• Improved muscle strength and fitness
• Increased mobility
• Better balance
• Reduced risk of falls and fractures
• Reduced pain.
• Improved reaction time
Deciding on an osteoporosis exercise program:
Before you begin an exercise regime, it is VERY important to consult your health practitioner. Several factors need to be considered including:
• Your age
• Location of osteoporosis
• The severity of osteoporosis
• Current medications
• Your fitness and ability • Other medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, coeliac disease or liver disease.
Recommended osteoporosis exercises:
• Resistance exercises such as PILATES
• Tai Chi
• Low impact aerobics
• Weight training
• Posture and balance exercises
• Swimming is NOT a weight-bearing exercise
Exercises to avoid:
• High impact aerobics
• Abdominal sit-ups
• Any exercise involving twisting, such as a golf swing
• Any exercise requiring sudden jolts or force, such as tennis or squash.
Consider your Fourfold Osteoporosis Action Plan:
for useful information
- Medical: It is vitally important to consult with your health practitioner before you decide on an exercise program.
- Diet: A dietician is invaluable to determine the best nutrition.
- Posture: Awareness of your body and how you hold yourself is equally as important as exercise. Check our POSTURE page, but be mindful of limitations required with osteoporosis.
- Exercises for Osteoporosis: Whatever you choose, it must be weight bearing exercise and remember, swimming is NOT weight bearing. Bones need to be “stressed”. We feel pilates is an excellent option.
At this point, it would be beneficial to go to OSTEOPOROSIS RISK FACTORS to consider to assess your lifestyle, and further equip yourself with the right advice.
This pic not only demonstrates poor posture, but show the spine in forward flexion. Any exercise that requires forward flexion is a no-no as you’re putting yourself at risk of further fracture.
Try to hold your back in this position as frequently as possible. If you are doing mat exercises, your back must STAY on the floor. Don’t try to lift head or shoulders. A big NO NO for people with osteoporosis.
|TIP – Stand tall, take a deep breath, and draw you shoulder blades down to the floor. This would have to be one of the simplest, but most effective exercises for osteoporosis.|
The pilates ring is an excellent resistance exercise device. This exercise works arms and shoulders, but there are many exercises with the ring, suitable for osteoporosis people.
A little bit of rubber called a “Theraband” is a favourite with pilates people. Again, its all about Resistance Exercise:
Start with a little tension in the theraband, held straight out in front at chest level. Stretch the band out, with straight arms to the side. Go to RESISTANCE BAND EXERCISES for a full selection, being careful to apply the rules stated above. ie. NO FLEXION
Ball exercises are also beneficial. Here you see the back fully supported on the floor for this hip exercise. It’s easy. Move the ball in a circle clockwise and then to anti-clockwise. Inhale one way and exhale the other. This and other ball exercises can be found here at Balance Ball Exercises Again, make certain to choose exercises that don’t require you to flex forward at the hip or shoulder girdles.
Here below is a 2 minute VIDEO with a selection of lower back exercises, all suitable for those with osteoporosis.
Lower Back Stretches
Lower Back Stretches:Back pain problem? There are many causes of lower back pain, so before you launch into your stretches, it is wise to check with your health practitioner to determine whether the cause is tight muscles or something more serious that will need attention with a specialist.
Injuries in this area usually are a result of muscular imbalance, weak or inflexible muscles, or poor posture.
Thus, it makes sense to do some strengthening exercises to develop the right level of conditioning to avoid further injury and pain.
Check out our Lower Back Exercises and begin to strengthen these muscles slowly.
1. The first stretch will help stretch these muscles. Make sure you relax fully as if you’re a rag doll and remember to breathe!
2. The second lower back stretch is a hamstrings stretch. If your hamstrings are tight, they will pull your hips down and possibly out of alignment and thus cause pain.
Muscles in the thigh that need attention with specific stretches, include hamstrings, glutes, quads and the iliotibial band or ITB which runs down the outside of your thigh.
- 3.The third is a FANTASTIC stretch for your lower back which will stretch most of the muscles just mentioned. It goes a little further compared to the previous #2.
- Lie sideways on the ball with your leg which is on the ball in front of the other one.
- Now, carefully roll over until you get your elbow on the floor.
- Make sure you do both sides.
Sciatica is a frequent problem. This stretch (left) will help. The sciatic nerve originates in the lower spine and travels right down the leg in 2 different directions, first the back of the leg, and second around in front under the knee. Pain can be felt anywhere along this nerve.
The nerve passes right through (or under) the piriformis muscle, and if it’s tight, it will press on the nerve causing pain – the condition is known as Piriformis Syndrome. When acute, the pain will shoot down the leg. If the pain you are suffering is felt more in the buttocks than the lower back region, you could assume that it is this muscle causing the problem.
Find your Stretch MENU..
1.Neck, Arms and Shoulders:
- -for pain in neck muscles
- – for pain in shoulder muscles
- – for pain in elbow or shoulder
2.For the Torso:
- – for pain in lower back.
- – for pain in shoulders, upper & lower back.
- – for inflexibility in the spine
- – for pain in legs, lower back & hips
- – sharp pain leg, lower back & knee
Leg Stretches – for pain in hips, knees and groin
Hamstring Muscles – for pain in lower back and knees
Quad Muscles -for pain in groin, hips & knee
Glute Muscles – for pain in lower & mid back and knee
Sciatic Stretches – sharp pain in lower back,leg & knee
Calf Muscle – for pain in heel & ankle
Psoas Stretch – for pain in groin, hip & lower back
Iliotibial Band (ITB) – for pain down side of leg, in hip & knee
Three things are important to remember to obtain optimal benefits from these illustrated STRETCHING exercises
- It is important to RELAX when doing your stretching exercises (whichh are illustrated in the links below), not just the muscle you are working on, but the whole body needs to be free of tension, so consciously release it before you start – but you will have to constantly remind yourself of this during the process. Remember, all muscles are linked throughout the body and it takes a while to be able to dissociate (that is to “switch off”) other muscles at the same time and focusing on the muscle you’re working on. Also, if you can focus and put your “mind” in the muscle you’re working on, it’s a great advantage. Again, its the mind/body connection at work and total focus with your stretching exercises.
- BREATHE deeply into the rib cage. This is called diaphragm breathing – you’ll feel the ribs expand out sideways as you do. Deep breath in and exhale fully. Give your whole body a good hit of oxygen.
- HOLD an exercise stretch for at least 30 SECONDS.
- is another great way to do additional stretching of your muscles. You may want to try that as well.
BELOW, you have access to our online Correct Posture Test
- which will help you to discover exactly what stretches will be of benefit to you. This is available when you receive for our monthly newsletter. The NEWSLETTER, (called NEWSY PILATES STUFF), provides useful illustrated information about exercises and stretches, a little bit of gossip, and video stretches – and of course it’s FREE. The form below is a simple one and requires little time to complete.
Lower Back Exercises
Lower Back Exercises:
You’ll find a VIDEO below with 3 of the best. These exercises can be as gentle or as strong as you want it to be. Back pain is frequently caused by weakness in muscles where we can help. However, it would be wise, before you begin these exercises, to check with your health practitioner to make sure that, if you are feeling any pain, there is not an underlying problem that needs to be sorted out first. If you haven’t done these movements before, it’s important to begin carefully and slowly. If your lower back muscles are tight, they won’t strengthen as well as they could, so it’s important to also do Back Stretches as well. Check our link.
Together with strong lower back muscles, you must also develop core strength and you’ll find suitable core strength exercises and our very best ab exercises to help you along the way. ALL FREE!!
Another method for a gentle lower back exercises is the pilates ball. Again, take small steps. Start with just a small lift and as you strengthen, you can, for instance, hold weights. Start with your hands behind your head and nose on the ball, then lift up on the inhale and lower down on the exhaled breath. Perform the exercise to the rhythm of your breath, NOT fast. Squeeze your glutes (backsides) together as you lift, it will add to the benefit of lower back muscles.
|Go to our Full Exercises Menu Here:ALL EXERCISES MENU|
Speaking of backsides, this link is an interesting pilates website to visit for excellent butt exercises and a nice shapely derriere.
BELOW you have access to our online Correct Posture Test which will help you to discover exactly what stretches will be of benefit to you. This is available when you receive for our monthly newsletter. The NEWSLETTER, (called NEWSY PILATES STUFF), provides useful illustrated information about exercises and stretches, a little bit of gossip, and video stretches – and of course it’s FREE. The form below is a simple one and requires little time to complete.
Curl Up 1. This is the starting position for the most important initial exercise in the seniors exercise program.
1. Knees and feet are hip-width apart.
2. This position is called neutral spine which means that all the curves on your spine and in the “neutral” position – your spine is NOT flat on the mat.
Curl Up 2. 1. Take a big breath in.2. Exhale as you lift you back off the floor, making sure that you lift on vertebra at a time. This means that you have to “flatten” your back on the floor before lifting up.3. Inhale when your back is in this position.4. Exhale as you lower each vertebra down onto the floor.5. Ten repetitions is excellent – as with the entire seniors exercise program.
Back Lift 1. Seniors love ball exercise and you’ll find a more extensive program on other pages. This is the starting position of an exercise to help strengthen back (and backside) muscles. Make sure your feet are widely spaced with your hands behind your head.
Back Lift 2. Inhale as you lift, squeezing your buttocks together at the same time. Exhale as you lower back down.
Our STAR SENIOR (below), Gwen, is doing this senior exercise program with small weights, but it’s very beneficial to use them as you gain strength – even a couple of baked beans tins works well!
Exercise Program for Seniors 2:
The first seniors exercise in this program, shows Gwen in a neutral standing position, feet parallel and shoulder blades drawn down her back. She is using light weights here, which is optional to start with.
Inhale as you lift arms out to each side. Exhale as you slowly lower. Slowing being the operative word – remember pilates is RESISTANCE exercise.
Inhale as you lift arms up above. Exhale as you slowly lower. Again, go slow.
Starting with arms beside you in the neutral position again. Then raise them up in front of you, OR out to the side.
Exercise Program for Seniors 3:
This exercise requires another neutral position on all fours. This is the starting point for the following 4 seniors exercises.
Balance is a problem for many seniors and this first exercise requires balance. You balance will not improve if you don’t challenge it so it’s imperative you include it in your exercise program. Lift the right leg, then the left knee. Reverse sequence.
Straight leg lift. Inhale as you lift each leg, exhale slowly as you lower. If you have lower back problems, do this exercise at your own disgression – lifting leg a small fraction to begin and increasing height as your strengthen.
With your leg bent at the knee, inhale as you lift, exhale slowly as you lower. Again, if you have lower back problems, go slowly with this exercise.
This time lift your leg inhaling and you do to the side, and exhaling and you lower – just like your dog does when you exercise him in the park!
Exercise Program for Seniors 4:
This is a very simple and fun seniors exercise for your program and very effective in strengthening core muscles and toning up around the waist.
- Sit on the ball with your feet nice and wide and knees bent. Ask someone to stand in front of your with their hands extended towards you, if you feel in need of support.
- Keeping the upper part of your body still, make lovely large circles with your hips. First up, do 5 one way and 5 the other.
Squats with the Ball
- Place the ball on a wall at waist height.
- Stand in front of the ball with your feet a little further forward.
- With the ball placed comfortable at weight height, Start with 5 squats, wait a couple of days to see how your knees feel. If OK, add more repetitions to your regime.
- Note: Because the ball is taking some of your weight, this exercises is kinder on your knees. However, you can also do this one in a standing position with someone standing in front of you with their helping hands.
If you’re enjoying your ball exercise, there is an extensive program here on this site – check Stability Ball Exercisesfor a full exercise program – many suitable for seniors.
Pilates For Senior Citizens
Regular exercise is important for everyone, but it may be especially critical for seniors. Have you ever noticed that the gap between those who don’t exercise and those who do exercise seems to widen over time? Men and women who work out consistently through their 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s and 90s look amazing, while their counterparts who don’t exercise can look withered or weak.
All the symptoms of a sedentary life, like poor muscle tone, bad posture, hunched shoulders, lower back pain, excess weight, and “spare tires,” worsen significantly in older age. The invisible effects of a life without exercise also increase. Senior citizens who don’t work out regularly are often plagued with aches and pains, poor sleep, bad circulation, stiff necks, loss of bone density, and a lack of energy.
The good news is that exercise can dramatically reverse these ills. Pilates is very safe for seniors to perform, making it a great exercise choice. Once you begin taking your Pilates equipment privates at Pilates on Fifth, you’ll notice some wonderful sensations almost immediately. The first signs that Pilates is working for you will be an increase in energy and a lessening of pain.
As one of our clients told us, “What I notice most is the absence of pain.” Soon, your friends and family members will point out that you look taller. “My husband says I’ve never looked so good,” and “everyone says I look taller!” said another one of our happy clients. CARDIOLATES® and Pilates mat classes will help you supplement your equipment privates. You’ll soon be back on track to a fitter, happier, more energetic you.
Do Real Men Do Pilates?
Despite the explosive growth of Pilates in recent years, there seems to be a misconception among men that Pilates is only for women. I have to admit that women have been the first to adopt it in masses, but Pilates is just as beneficial for men as it is for women. Pilates is not, and never was a gender thing. As a matter of fact, Pilates was developed by a man who was a boxer, gymnast, and circus performer and had a following of male practitioners.
When men try Pilates for the first time they are surprised to find out that Pilates is not easy. Jack Cohn, a CEO of a commercial production company who took on Pilates to deal with back injuries, was marveled by the difficulty and the athleticism required by the Pilates method. His trainer Regina Joseph in an article in Pilates Style magazine shares what Jack whispered to her at one point; “Boy, I’d never expected it to be this tough. I always thought Pilates was… you know, kind of girly.”
Why Men Need Pilates More Than Women.
Many physiotherapist, doctors and sport coaches agree that based on men’s biomechanical and physical needs they could benefit from Pilates more than women. The reason is simple.
- As boys, men start training in sports earlier than girls and due to poor training practices at a young age, they don’t develop core strength and correct exercise habits. Through time, lower abdominal weaknesses and destructive workout routines can result in back pain and inflexibility, especially in the hamstrings.
- Men don’t bother to stretch after an activity and if they do they do it haphazard or incomplete. Over time they develop microscopic tears in the muscles. With time scar tissue develops and when the muscle is fatigued it loses flexibility.
- Men don’t know how to engage the transversus abdominis properly. In other words, they don’t use their abs correctly.
The Pilates method core strengthening and stretching principles are a great way to regain the flexibility and treat many of the injuries and misalignments and bad habits that men frequently impose on themselves.
The Revealing Secret.
I want to share with you a revealing exchange between a few body builders in an internet forum that do Pilates, to illustrate how widespread Pilates really is among men, but how men are just not ready to admit it in public.
This forum can be found at the ExtremeFitness.com web site, you can see how I highlighted the key points I wanted to make to save you from reading the whole thing.
Pilates For The Over 50’s
When Pilates was first invented, it was so new and specialized that only a very few trained practitioners could do the exercises. However, in the past few years the use of Pilates exercises has become common in the United States. There are many professionals spread across the whole country running Pilates studios staffed with certified instructors. People who follow the Pilates exercise program discover many benefits like better body posture, improved muscle flexibility, and balance. The program is so good that of all the exercise programs out there nothing compares to Pilates for aged people. The seniors can now do exercises that are safe and effective.
The American Association of Retired Persons states that the stretching and strengthening of the core muscles through Pilates is a very good way of warding off the effects of aging. Apart
from the physical benefits, Pilates is also helpful in providing relief from stress and tension. Elderly people will increasingly need to keep up their strength and range of motion and Pilates can help them achieve that target with ease. There are several ailments associated with age like back pain, joint pain, etc. and Pilates can not only provide relief but it can also increase spinal and joint strength to avoid these problems. This is why doctors recommend Pilates for aged people. The best aspect of Pilates is that it is not difficult or stressful as a normal workout. When you start out, your own strength and stamina will control how far you can go with each exercise. Unlike weight training, there is no goal of gaining a certain muscle mass or losing so much fat. The only goal, if one needs it, is the general improvement health.
Pilates is more about mental control over your body than anything else. The first thing you will learn in your Pilates instruction is how to control your breathing, your balance, your muscles, and finally, how to control the coordination between all these.
Pilates involves what is known as Lateral Breathing. In Lateral Breathing, you inhale deeply through your nose and force the inhaled air to expand your ribcage. This sort of breathing is also known as Thoracic Breathing.
The Pilates exercise can help anyone achieve good health, vitality at any age. While important and beneficial to all, Pilates for aged people is necessary because as we grow older we start losing control and coordination of our muscles. Not only is this physically inconvenient but it can also lead to several emotional problems which are best avoided at a time when life ought to be restful and full of peace.
For 74-year-old Carol Ann Wyndelts, the twice-weekly Pilates classes means she leads an active lifestyle with increased mobility – despite arthritis in her hips, knees and toes, as well as periodic back pain and two surgeries for diverticulosis and a hernia.
“I started Pilates about two years ago,” the Atlanta resident says. “I feel so much better. I crawl in and I dance out.
“I’m not doing this for beauty, I’m doing this for practicality,” she adds. “I’m so much more mobile and enjoying life more because I can move around.”
Before starting Pilates, Wyndelts says she visited the gym in spurts depending on her motivation level – and she’s not alone. Only about 31.5 percent of people ages 65 and older engage in regular physical activity, according to a national health survey conducted in 2009 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Folks in the 45- to 64-year age bracket fared only slightly better – 32.8 percent.
Angie’s List member Arlene Ward, who’s in her 50s, praises the Pilates classes she takes at highly rated Strong Tower Pilates in Acworth, Ga.. “I cannot speak highly enough of the fitness benefits I have received,” the Woodstock resident says in her Page of Happiness nomination. “I am more toned and have greater strength and flexibility. These latter two were of particular importance to me, as I began experiencing joint problems.”
Strong Tower owner Kelly Letalien estimates that people ages 60 and over make up one-third of her clientele, many of them referred by doctors or physical therapists. She says Pilates, which helps to strengthen the pelvic muscles, really helps women who experience vaginal prolapse – a condition in which the rectum, bladder or other pelvic organs fall out of their normal positions.
Some of her clients also use Pilates to recover after hip and knee replacements or mastectomies, or to help improve ostepenia (low bone density). “They can do so much more stuff in their daily life that they couldn’t before,” Letalien says.
Strong Tower offers both small-group and private classes at three levels: essential, intermediate and accelerated. Sessions can involve Pilates equipment that uses ropes and springs to provide resistance or a Pilates mat regimen that uses your own body for resistance. Clients can also take a yoga class for additional stretching and strengthening. Prices for an individual session range from $65 to $75 per hour, she says, and senior discounts are available.
Letalien says she changes the intensity and pace of the workouts, depending on the client. “Sometimes we’ll change the weights, making it lighter or heavier depending on their strength, or lower the amount of repetitions,” she says. “We also can slow the pace of the session so it’s not overly active and they aren’t getting short of breath.”
Before doing Pilates, Wyndelts frequently hurt herself doing high-impact cardiovascular exercises, such as running on a treadmill, says Miguel Casas, the Pilates coordinator at Athletic Club Northeast. He advises that seniors and clients who have specific medical problems begin by taking one-on-one sessions rather than group classes. A private session for a member costs $70; $80 for a non-member.
“What works for one person may not work for another,” he says. “With one-on-one, I can work with the needs of the client more than a class, where I have to do more general exercises.”
Dr. Lee Jacobs, an Atlanta internist at highly rated Kaiser Permanente Cumberland medical group, says he refers many patients suffering from joint or neurological issues to take Pilates classes. “Pilates is a well-kept secret,” he says. “There are people I’ve referred driving 45 minutes to go to class because they get so much relief from it.”
Jacobs also takes classes himself with his wife, Deb, 60, at Strong Tower Pilates. Back pain and degenerative arthritic knees severely impacted the 63-year-old Acworth resident’s posture before he started the classes.
“He was walking like his 80-year-old father,” his wife says. “Now he can do anything around the house, and his body looks a good 20 years younger. He has more energy, too. It’s amazing.”
Lee agrees. “It’s given me so much flexibility,” he says. “It’s just a night-and-day difference.”
Wyndelts says Pilates training allowed her to continue many of her favorite activities, including acting in community theater. “My endurance is definitely better, and I’m more flexible,” she says. “It allows me to do a whole lot of little things, like tie my shoelaces or pick things up off the floor, with no pain.”
When it comes to choosing your Pilates instructor, Letalien cautions consumers to beware of uncertified or partially certified instructors. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of training programs that teach students in one weekend or a very few hours,” she says. “I think teachers who are trained in such a short time are simply learning the exercises, but not the concepts of Pilates.”
Although the industry is not regulated, it typically takes months of study to become a fully certified instructor, which means they’ve received training in both mat and equipment Pilates, she says.