Why the Smartest Over-40 Women are Flocking to Pilates
Some women feel locked in their age while others feel liberated by it. Is age just a number? Joseph Pilates himself noted, “Your true age is not measured by a number on your birth certificate. If, at 30, you are stiff and out of shape, you are old. If, at 60, you are supple and strong, then you are still young.” Women intuitively know this, and while Pilates can be beneficial for people of all ages, it’s a fountain of youth for women 40 and over. Here’s why:
1. Future proofing: relieving and preventing low back pain
Because of differences in pelvic structure, the impact of pregnancy and childbirth, and differences in hormones, more women than men struggle with low back pain, especially those of us 40 and older. The pain can be debilitating, and can interfere with almost every aspect of our lives, from grabbing coffee with friends (it hurts to sit for too long), to bending over to pick up our grandkids (too much stress on the lower back) to interfering with our sleep (can’t get comfortable in bed). Pilates not only offers relief to current low back pain, it also strengthens the muscles, joints, and bones necessary to keep your back healthy for the future. And with women living longer than at any other time in history, this is especially important!
2. Reduce stress
While we’ve known for decades that exercise in general is a phenomenal stress reliever, Pilates is especially beneficial because it laser focuses on relieving that stress from your body through guided, intentional movement that connects mind, body, and spirit. Every session of Pilates is built on six principals—Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath, and Flow—the purposeful combination of which not only relieve stress on your muscles and joints, but also the stress on your mind and spirit.
3. Help to manage stress incontinence
Childbearing can do a number on your bladder, and even if you didn’t have children, hormonal changes that occur in our 40s mean our bladder muscle and the muscles that support the urethra get weaker, increasing the risk of bladder leakage. However, Pilates sessions with a focus on the pelvic floor can improve pelvic muscle strength and reduce leakage.
4. Improve strength and flexibility
Let’s face it- our bodies in our 40’s aren’t what they were in our 20’s. Even with optimal healthy living when we were younger, gravity itself draws us down as we age, and the most severe drop we experience in our fitness levels is when we hit 45. And we are most at risk for osteoporosis at age 45 and older. But Pilates is the perfect way to repair and strengthen the body, keeping us effectively young. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends muscle strengthening exercises 2-3 days a week, especially those focuses in balance and posture—and Pilates fits this bill perfectly.