Over 50? Try This 6-Move Standing Pilates Workout for Better Balance (Live Strong)

Posted: Jul 12, 2023 in In the News

This article originally appeared in Livestrong on July 12, 2023.


Over 50? Try This 6-Move Standing Pilates Workout for Better Balance

By Megan Falk, CPT

In addition to hearing difficulties and poor dental health, you might notice yourself struggling with your balance as you get older. If so, you're not alone. This issue that affects 13 percent of 65- to 69-year-olds and has been linked with an increased risk of falling, according to a February 2019 review in ‌Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology‌.

But there's one workout method that could help you stay steady as the years go by: Pilates. This exercise style helps build strength, stability and, importantly, balance — even when your entire training session is performed standing on your two feet, says Laura Fielding, NETA-CPT, AFAA-GFI, a certified Pilates instructor and master trainer at Club Pilates.

Ahead, learn more about the benefits of practicing standing Pilates exercises — including how they can boost your balance — and how to combine them into an expert-approved workout.

The Benefits of Standing Pilates Exercises for Balance

Pilates has long been shown to enhance balance, particularly in older adults. In an April 2015 meta-analysis in ‌Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation,‌ researchers found that Pilates was linked to improved balance and a reduced the number of falls among seniors. What's more, a small April 2021 study in the ‌International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health‌ of 50 women over age 60 found that twice-weekly Pilates sessions improved balance in just three months.

The workout's balance-boosting effect may stem from a few factors. Practically every mat, reformer or standing Pilates exercise utilizes your core, Fielding tells LIVESTRONG.com. Located throughout your trunk, this group of muscles helps to keep your spine stable and protected from injury. Strengthening your core muscles can improve weight distribution and stability (and, in turn, balance) in older individuals, according to an October 2015 study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Scienc‌e. Another perk: A strong core may prevent back aches and pains as you age, Fielding adds.

Pilates also targets your "stabilizer" muscles, according to Fielding. These are the muscles that co-contract during a movement to protect the joint and maintain proper alignment, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). During a properly performed standing oblique crunch, for instance, your entire core — including the muscles along your anterior (the muscles along the front of your body) and posterior chains (the muscles along the back of your body) — will engage to stabilize your spine and keep you from toppling over.


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