Pilates to improve balance, flexibility and strength

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We can’t deny it, we are all getting just a little older!

One of the biggest concerns we get from our clients and patients is how balance starts to suffer and weakness in the legs especially! Continuing to address balance and strength can be especially important in neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.

Balance deficiencies, lower limb muscle weakness and slowed reaction time have been identified as independent risk factors and may have the potential to lead to dependency and an increased risk of falling. We DEFINITELY don’t want anyone falling!

Regular exercise participation, at this point, appears to be essential and is considered an appropriate, healthy and cost effective way of both improving and sustaining physical aspects of health. There are many ways to exercise, including:

  • simply walking around the block,

  • strength training at the gym or home

  • even going to group fitness classes.

At PhysioFit of North Carolina, we have 3 pillars within our Fitness department that is essential as you age! We utilize Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi to help our community gain and maintain flexibility, core strength and balance. For this post, we will talk about Pilates.

Pilates is “a unique method of physical fitness that uses a combination of muscle strengthening, lengthening and breathing to develop trunk muscles and restore muscle balance”.

Pilates exercises require activation and coordination of several muscle groups at a time. The beauty behind this is that you are working several muscle groups in a well-rounded manner during your sessions!

Pilates exercises have been shown to reduce the risk of falling as a result of improvements in balance, muscle strength and coordination (Irez et al 2010).  Pilates exercises has also been shown to be a preventive intervention method in reducing the risk of falling in the elderly (Kloubec 2010).

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In a recent study by Irez et al, the authors found an improvement in strength, reaction time, balance, and coordination in the elderly after a 12-week Pilates program. The interesting thing behind this study —- the program included group fitness using resistance bands and balls —- and no reformer was used! Therefore, you can still get the benefits of Pilates without the use of a reformer!

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Pilates exercise may reduce the number of falls in the elderly by increasing these fitness parameters — dynamic balance, reaction time and muscle strength.

At PhysioFit of North Carolina, we offer Pilates through weekly classes and class series. We offer Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi in Wake Forest, NC.

We even have specialized Pilates classes mixed with other exercise approaches for special populations, such as Parkinson’s & Multiple Sclerosis.

Contact us to learn more about our approach and program or sign up for our next class!