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  • How Pilates Helps Prevent Falls

    How Pilates Helps Prevent Falls

    As we age, we naturally lose strength. Muscle mass decreases three to eight percent per decade after the age of 30. As muscle fibres shrink, fat gradually replaces some of the muscle volume. When this common ageing process occurs, muscles have less ability to contract. Over time, they lose strength, making leg weakness one of the biggest causes of injurious falls.

    Is the modern sedentary lifestyle a contributing factor? It seems that way. Given that muscles adapt to the stresses placed upon them, we need to look at the activities we participate in and think about how many hours we spend sitting relative to the hours we spend walking or standing.

    Can Pilates help?

    The good news is that falls are preventable and as Pilates instructors we can do so a great deal to help.

    Pilates exercises offer endless opportunities for improving strength because so much of the exercises are performed on the floor, an instructor’s creativity and understanding of fall prevention is key when working with this growing population of seniors. It is important to keep in mind some other main factors when working with adults at risk for falls.

    Beyond the natural loss of strength during the ageing process, sedentary lifestyles, nutrient deficient diets, loss of balance and vision, and environmental factors play a role in causing falls in older adults.

    Middle-aged and older women are also the most at risk for falls, instructors need to ensure that our sessions include working on balance, leg strength, and coordination.

    As a teacher, remember that safety is paramount, as is setting our clients up for success. One of the best ways to appropriately challenge clients is to start small. Begin by teaching something fairly simple that will allow the student to feel successful and then progressively add challenges.

    Fall prevention has three key factors: improving balance, building balanced leg strength, and most importantly, building confidence. As a side benefit, doing Pilates workouts structured around these objectives will also increase leg and glute tone.

    Learn more about our Fitness Pilates for older adults training here

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