Most people are familiar with many of the benefits of Pilates and exercise, such as improving muscle strength and endurance, posture and flexibility. Perhaps not as well understood is the importance of regular physical activity in building and maintaining healthy bones. Inactivity causes loss of bone!
From the age of 40 onwards our bones gradually lose their density as a part of natural ageing. Ageing, along with certain diseases and medications, can cause bones to become very weak and fragile over time — a condition called osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them, causing a loss of bone thickness (bone density or mass).
Osteoporosis can cause bones to fracture more easily. The most common bone fractures in people with Osteoporosis are:
Regular physical activity and exercise plays an important role in maintaining or improving bone density it also increases the size, strength and capacity of our muscles. Our bones become stronger when a certain amount of impact or extra strain is placed on them. This means there are specific types of exercises that are better for our bones.
Taking part in regular Pilates exercise you can assist in preventing Osteoporosis and/or delay its progression.
In Pilates practice we use modified strength training and weight bearing exercises, such as plank, single leg stance, press ups, 4 point kneel and the use of resistance equipment such as TheraBand and magic circles.
Pilates exercises and movements that promote muscle strength, balance and coordination are important as they promote muscular endurance and muscular mass and therefore increase bone density.
Pilates will also help with improving posture, muscle balance and developing proprioception (an awareness of our body in space, all which improve balance and helps prevent falls.
All the benefits to our bone health is why Pilates is recommended for people with osteoporosis and further details of benefits and modifications of Pilates exercises can be found on the Royal Osteoporosis Society website.