Pilates: The Fountain of Youth?

At Valleybrook Pilates and Fitness, we know everyone can benefit from adding Pilates to their routine. With older adults, we can help seniors lead a longer, stronger life with the practice of Pilates.

The United States is aging, with 15.2% of Americans age 65 or older.[1] It is predicted that by 2030, 1 in 5 adults will be in this category.[2] While the benefits of exercise are numerous for every age group, for seniors who desire to maintain physical and mental wellness, preserve function and stay active, exercise is essential. Actually, there are only a few untreatable or serious medical conditions that might stop an older adult from participating in moderate to vigorous exercise.[3]

As the number of older adults in our population steadily increases, the need for greater knowledge regarding the effects of aging on the components of fitness combined with the understanding of the role exercise plays in staving off the negative effects of aging becomes more important than ever. In our studio, Pilates instructors look beyond muscle strength, endurance and flexibility to create a program that includes motor coordination and balance as they contribute to functional performance. We also factor in individual needs as well as joint and other health concerns, along with mental and emotional well-being.


Studies show that lifestyle changes in diet, exercise, stress management, and social support may result in longer telomeres, the part of the chromosomes that affect aging. Exercise recommendations are for moderate, daily exercise.[4] More and more studies are coming out that support these recommendations and underline the fact that our seniors are struggling with stress issues.  Pilates can be a powerful tool in the active aging arsenal helping them to improved wellness. Just as with all other clients, individuals in the over-65 age group can range from the sedentary with chronic health issues to competitive athletes with strong training programs in place.

During a private Pilates lessons, we teach to each individual that is most appropriate for them on that given day. Every day is different and for older clients, those differences can be more pronounced. We often change the lesson plan on the fly, to offer more building blocks, props, supportive touch, or to slow the pace down after travel or just a low-energy day. Alternatively, we are ready to up the game plan when a client seems to have more energy and focus.  Practiced on a regular basis, Pilates truly can be the fountain of youth.

Read more on this topic

(1) U.S. Census Bureau (2016). Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2017/income-povery.html
(2) Administration on Aging (2011). A Profile of Older Americans: 2011. Retrieved from: http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/livable-communities/learn/demographics/a-profile-of-older-americans-2011-aarp.pdf
(3) Panton, Lynn B. PhD, FACSM, Loney, Brittany, MS, MA (2012). Exercise for Older Adults: Health Provider Edition. Retrieved from: http://file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/dmh/216745_ExerciseforOlderAdultsHealthCareProviderManual.pdf
(4) Ornish, D (2013). “Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer: 5-year follow-up of a descriptive pilot study”. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(13)70366-8