Recent research findings indicate that mat pilates can probably improve balance and strength in older adults. Maintaining physical fitness is important at all ages but as we get older it is particularly important in order to prevent falls and heart disease as well as ensure mental wellbeing.
What is recommended?
Department of Health guidelines recommend that over 65s have at least 150 mins of moderate activity each week. If at risk of falls, balance training should be incorporated. Strength training is also recommended at least twice a week. https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiO_96wxsnkAhUCyIUKHW9xBhUQzPwBegQIARAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fhealth-49609597&psig=AOvVaw24ECEPLDj1DCYYfRdmE6fR&ust=1568318111565444
What is Mat Pilates?
Mat pilates is a form of exercise that only requires a mat and minimal equipment such as rubber bands and Swiss balls. It aims to strengthen the core muscles and increase flexibility and balance.
It also includes a component of floor work which is a huge benefit for people who are not confident about getting on and off the floor on their own.
National Guidelines (National Institute of Clinical Excellence 2008) on mental wellbeing in the over 65s recommends tailored physical activity programmes by physiotherapists that includes strength, resistance, toning and stretching exercises.
Why do floor based exercise?
Across the UK every year 280,000 people end up in A&E after a fall. By increasing people’s confidence in working at floor level they are better equipped to get themselves up from falls.
What does the research say?
A systematic review (de Souza et al 2017) which included 9 randomised controlled trials with 415 adults aged over 60 years compared mat pilates with no exercise. The findings showed that large improvements in dynamic balance, lower limb muscle strength, lower body flexibility and cardiorespiratory fitness.
What balance exercises can I do?
There are a number of different ways you can improve your balance apart from trying to balance on one leg. To find out what balance exercises you can practise at home, please watch a short video clip of different balance exercises by Catherine Allen who is Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor at our clinic.
What if I am unable to get down onto the floor?
Here at Altrincham Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic, we offer a variety of differing levels of Pilates classes and even a chair based exercise class.