by Heather Burgoyne, Owner, Soar Pilates
As we begin to age, it becomes extremely important to keep our bodies active and moving.
It may come as a surprise, but when we hit middle age, our bodies start to shift. Our metabolisms slow, our muscles weaken and become more of a challenge to build, and our balance and agility start to fail from the level we’re used to.
The worse thing we can do is look at these symptoms and think to ourselves, well, that’s just part of aging and let it run its course. There have been numerous studies showing physical activity has a positive effect on these issues making it one of the most important things we can do to remain healthy and strong.
Even if one has never worked out a day in their life, starting a healthy habit of exercise can do wonders. Be it going to a gym and working with a trainer, walking or hiking around your neighborhood or perhaps my favorite, finding a Pilates studio that can create a program designed around your needs.
Pilates can provide exercises as simple as using your own body weight and a mat. Pilates also has numerous pieces of specialized equipment that have been designed with spring weights that provide low impact on the joints and work in conjunction with building strength and flexibility.
Using the Pilates method, and having the guide of an instructor, will instantly provide body awareness. The method will highlight imbalances in the body as to which side is stronger and more dominant to its weaker counterpart, which allows us to rebalance the body to work in harmony.
It will showcase range of motion not only in our joints, but also in the flexibility of the muscles where we can gently begin to open and release tension. The Pilates method also fires mental alertness due to the coordination of movements, motor planning and the connection to our breath while performing exercises.
Most of us who are aging (again I am speaking from middle age and beyond) have the capability to remarkably increase our physical wellbeing. All we need is the awareness that we can begin at any age and the commitment to ourselves to keep moving.
At the end of the day, movement is the greatest medicine we have access to at any time.