People often take their bones for granted. But our bones are not entirely unlike our muscles, both become stronger when they have to resist force. That’s why astronauts who return to Earth from prolonged periods in orbit end up with all kinds of bone density problems, not totally unlike suffering from osteoporosis. Giving your bones the right amount of strain can actually improve their strength. But what’s the right amount, and how do you get it?
Is Pilates Good for Osteoporosis?
In a lot of ways, pilates for seniors is a match made in heaven. Because pilates can provide several highly targeted exercises to help people with brittle bones to strengthen them a gentle way. It can help reduce the risk of someone suffering a fall, improve posture, range of motion, and even strengthen the muscles that support your bones.
However, many common pilates exercises are not safe for seniors or people with osteoporosis. That means it’s important to understand which kinds of exercises are dangerous, and which are the most useful. Generally speaking, people with osteoporosis want to focus on building their shoulders, legs, back, and especially the hips.
Basically, you want to target the muscles most responsible for supporting your bones. That means pilates for osteoporosis might include chest expansion, push-ups, side-lying series, legs kicks, and leg pulls and circles.
Pilates Reformer Osteoporosis Exercise
Outside of mat-based exercises, another good option is pilates reformer osteoporosis machines. You may already know that weight-bearing exercises can help strengthen your bones. But you don’t have to lift weights to get those kinds of benefits.
Reformer machines are somewhat similar to rowing machines and provide an excellent opportunity for low-impact weight-bearing exercise. Moreover, pilates reformer exercises for osteoporosis can help keep the spine in neutral alignment during all motions.
Pilates and Osteoporosis Exercises to Avoid
But again, there are a number of pilates osteoporosis exercises to avoid. Some of the most common unsafe mat exercises include the spine twist, saw, rollover, rollup, and jackknife positions. And motions that require the practitioner to bend forward through the spine can be extremely dangerous for someone with osteoporosis.
Fortunately, it’s not necessarily a problem if you don’t know those exercises by name. Because it’s often simple to spot a problematic exercise. Those you want to avoid generally involve rolling your neck, bending forward, or twisting the spine.
Pilates Classes for Osteoporosis
That is also why it helps to find pilates classes for osteoporosis specifically. When picking a class, you might ask if the instructor is familiar with which exercises are safe and unsafe for people with osteoporosis, and if the planned workouts will involve unsafe exercises. You might also ask if there are any exercises that specifically help improve balance.
Whether you decide to go it alone or follow a class, pilates can work well when practiced safely. Especially because for most seniors, the real danger of osteoporosis is that it increases the chances that a fall will end badly. Preventing falls can be critical, and pilates can help with that. You do have to be careful because not just any routine will be safe. But with the right caution, following a pilates regimen can do great things for seniors with osteoporosis.