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50+ Pilates Power

Comprehensive Benefits: Pilates for Women 50+

Article by Cyndi George

Photography by Christine Lowell Photography

Regaining Vitality: The Comprehensive Benefits of Reformer Pilates and Equipment for Women in Their 50’s 60s 70’s and beyond!

As we gracefully age, the importance of maintaining physical health and overall well-being takes center stage. For women in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond, addressing the unique challenges that come with aging becomes paramount. This is where Reformer Pilates, coupled with specialized equipment such as the Cadillac and Stability Chair, steps in to offer a holistic approach tailored specifically to this stage of life.

The Aging Challenge:

Age gracefully they say, but there are undeniable challenges that come with it:

Decreased Flexibility: As the years pass, changes occur in our connective tissues—tendons and ligaments—which can impact joint flexibility, leaving some of us feeling less agile.

Increased Muscle Stiffness: Muscles can become stiffer with age, affecting our ability to move freely. Regular physical activity and stretching become crucial to ward off this stiffness.

Decrease in Physical Activity: Maintaining an active lifestyle that includes regular stretching and flexibility exercises can help mitigate the decline in flexibility. Inactivity accelerates the process.

Hormonal Changes: Menopause brings hormonal shifts that influence joint and muscle health. Reduced estrogen levels can impact joint lubrication and flexibility.

Age-Related Muscle Loss (Sarcopenia): Starting around age 30, both men and women typically experience a gradual decline in muscle mass and strength. This becomes more pronounced after the age of 50.

Bone and Joint Health: Muscular strength is closely tied to bone density and joint health. Equipment-based Pilates classes with weight-bearing exercises can improve bone health and maintain muscle strength. After menopause (around age 50), women can lose about 1-2% of bone mass per year.

Injury Prevention: As we age, muscle strength plays a critical role in preventing falls and related injuries. Pilates sessions with the Reformer, Cadillac, and Stability Chair improve balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls.

Other Contributing Factors:

There are numerous other factors contributing to muscle loss and decreased bone density, including lifestyle choices (smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and a sedentary lifestyle), medical conditions (such as diabetes, chronic inflammation, hyperparathyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis), medications (some of which can affect muscle strength and bone density), and genetics yup maybe we didn’t pick the right parents…

Individual Variation:

It is essential to acknowledge that there is significant individual variation in how women experience changes in muscle strength with age. Some women maintain robust muscle strength well into their later years, while others may experience more significant declines.

Apparatus Pilates to the RESCUE!

Reformer Pilates, renowned for enhancing flexibility, partners perfectly with specialized equipment such as the Cadillac and Stability Chair or Wunda chair to tick all the boxes:

Improved Flexibility: Reformer Pilates enhances flexibility, while the Cadillac takes it a step further, facilitating gentle stretching for improved joint mobility and muscle suppleness.

Enhanced Strength: Reformer Pilates and the Stability Chair target core strength, crucial for stability and balance. These apparatuses help women over 50 regain strength, leading to better posture, reduced fall risk, and improved overall stability.

Pain Management: Chronic pain is a common concern as we age. The Cadillac, with its versatility, allows precise targeting of pain points, providing much-needed relief and comfort.

Mind-Body Connection: Reformer Pilates emphasizes the mind-body connection, promoting relaxation and stress reduction. The Cadillac offers gentle support, enhancing the mental and emotional aspects of aging with grace.

Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is essential, and the challenge of an aging metabolism is well-addressed with the Cadillac and Stability Chair. These apparatuses build muscle mass and boost metabolism, aiding in weight management.

Bone Density and Balance Improvement: For women concerned about bone health and osteoporosis, the Resistance provided by the equipment, especially the Stability Chair, enhances bone density. Balance exercises on these apparatuses also reduce the risk of falls.

Improved Sleep: As a bonus, reformer Pilates is known to improve sleep quality, offering respite to women in their 60s who often face sleep disturbances.

Question:  So what brand is best?

There are many fabulous Pilates studios and Instructors all over the world and many have a variety of certifications and trainings. Joseph Pilates trained several students who all went off and “improved” upon his original method called “Contrology” designed way back in the 1920’s. The bigger brands in alphabetical order to get anyone upset: Balance Body - BASI Pilates - Classical - Gratz - Gyrotonics - Peak Pilates - Power Pilates - Polestar Pilates - Fletcher Pilates - Romana's Pilates - Stott Pilates...

Please note, many local Franchise Pilates Studios offer their own in-house Instructor Training Certifications making sure their teachers are adequately educated to work with clients. Instructors should possess a strong foundation in Anatomy, Kinesiology, Pilates Principles, Contraindications, Modifications, CPR and AED training etc.  as well as effective communication and teaching experience.   Do your due diligence and ask questions!  If you experience discomfort or pain during a session, do not hesitate to request a modification from your instructor. Your well-being is paramount.

Question: Where to start? 

Do not be intimidated by the machines but do have a healthy respect. Make no mistake about you can get seriously hurt on these machines, particularly if you have age related issues such as osteoporosis or osteopenia. 

Working with a Qualified Instructor: It is crucial and advisable for women in their 50 and up to work with a qualified Pilates instructor. One-on-one sessions ensure that exercises are tailored to individual needs, allowing for a safe and effective fitness journey. Especially if you are just starting out invest in a few private sessions with instructors who are certified in working with special populations and if private sessions are not in your budget insist on small group classes or maybe do a duet with a friend.  Once you have a few private sessions under your belt then you will have the foundation to safely join any number of Pilates larger group reformer classes. If you do not know where to start to look, please reach out to Cyndi and she can provide you with several locations in the US, Canada and Mexico including locally here in Phoenix, Globe and Tucson metro areas, St Louis-MO, Salt Lake City-Utah, Houston-TX, Springfield-MO, New Jersey, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Tennessee… Basically pretty much anywhere you are located she can get you names of qualified studios and instructors. Reach out via text or email. info@cynshine.net or text 480.824.3776 please be specific with where you live.

In Conclusion:

Reformer Pilates, complemented by specialized equipment like the Cadillac and Stability Chair, provides a comprehensive approach to fitness and well-being for women in their 50s and beyond. Focusing on flexibility, strength, pain management, balance, bone density, and improved sleep quality, these tools empower women to embrace aging with resilience and vitality under the guidance of qualified instructors. Don’t let age or condition dictate what you can or cannot do! Movement is medicine!

About the Author: Cyndi George MSc. Owner of Cynshine® Pilates& Integrated Movement in Gilbert, Arizona and International Instructor for MSTR® is a comprehensively Certified Pilates Instructor specializing in NeuroPilates, Special populations and injury recovery. She earned her master’s degree in physical education and adapted movement exercise and holds the following certifications: Level 3- NeuroStudio® Therapist, Advanced Assisted Active Isolated Stretch® Therapist, 500 ERYT and YACAEP provider, Level 3- NKT® Therapist and Reiki Master Trainer. Cyndi offers individual private sessions for her clients and trainings and workshops for movement professionals in the modalities she uses and guarantees success for her students. She can be reached at info@cynshine.net. For more information, please click one of these links: Practitioners OR Clients


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