Joseph Pilates, the pioneer of Pilates, the now global phenomenon that see’s thousands of men and women taking up Pilates for a variety of reasons, be it fitness, injury management, wellbeing and longevity is testament to the fact that Pilates can help us as we age.
If you look at Joseph Pilates at age 57 and 82, and focused on his body, you would hardly notice the 25 years between the two.
It is a well-known and clinically proven fact that movement/exercise is the absolute “HAVE TO” when we talk about maintaining quality of life. It is the “prescription” for so many niggles we experience, whether they be as a result of an acute injury or a long term chronic or progressive condition.
So what is it about Pilates that is so powerful at not only helping to correct any niggling condition, but that can actually IMPROVE the overall condition of an individual and continue to improve and strengthen even as age creeps up?
- Pilates is a brain-body system: The consistent practice of the repertoire requires the brain to work hard. A good Pilates Instructor will cue a client (not demonstrate), to execute an exercise correctly. The ongoing focus and brain activity, together with the movements, helps to create new brain patterns and keeps the mind active and engaged.
- Pilates is a full body system of exercise. Whilst an instructor can and will help a client to focus on needier areas of the body, each and every exercise in the system involves the entire body (the body thus develops uniformly and proportionately so as to help create efficient and effortless movement).
- Pilates works with resistance and thereby puts load onto the muscular and skeletal system of the body. As we age and as our bones lose density and our muscles lose tone, exercise that “bears weight” is essential.
- Pilates works from the feet up. Most Pilates sessions will start with some kind of focus on the feet and their neural and force transmission powers to the rest of the body. And so posture and balance are key and critical components to all Pilates sessions.
- Probably one of the most powerful results of a consistent Pilates practise is the confidence and improved self esteem that comes with healthy movement. Often as we age, we can lose belief in ourselves and think we cannot do things we “used to do when we were young”. Pilates is a system full of challenges that are achievable and encouraged, because the system is designed to invigorate the mind and the body so that clients feel better, and constantly get better.
- Pilates breath work encourages the flushing of the system. The healthy increase of oxygen intake, together with the focus on “not bracing and squeezing”, has a positive effect on the digestive system and sleep patterns of a client.
For more information on Pilates and the longevity benefits follow @mpowerpilates or visit www.mpowerpilates.com.au
The Carousel would like to thank Michelle Koton & Peta Green for their contribution.
Michelle Koton and Peta Green are the founders of MPower Pilates, a boutique pilates studio in Bondi. Michelle and Peta met 20 years ago while doing their teacher training and always had a dream to work together.
In 2000, Michelle completed her Classical Pilates Training under the banner of Romanas Pilates and, since then, has travelled the world completing many workshops, seminars and conferences, never ceasing to learn more and more about the magical world of the body and movement. Michelle has founded and developed her own studios in Sydney for the past 19 years and, at the age of 56, feels more empowered and stronger than ever!
Peta trained as a ballet dancer at the National Theatre Ballet School in Melbourne then joined the Sydney Dance Company and worked as a dancer with the Australian Opera Company for many years. After embarking on intensive training in the Pilates method in Sydney with Cynthia Lochard, she was inspired to go to New York to study at the original studio where Jospeh Pilates taught. After finishing the course, she continued her pilates journey in NYC and taught at the famous re:AB studio with Brooke Siler, teaching people of the likes of models Stella Tenant, Katie Ford and ballerina, Suzanne Farrell.