Sedentary Lifestyle Accelerates Ageing

My Mum swears by an active lifestyle to keep her feeling & looking young inside & out.
This is her last year before she beat me to the top of Mount Brandon in Kerry.

Pilates for the elderly

Milena with her Mum!

When you think about a typical Platinum Pilates client, it’s easy to assume we are the perfect workout for the trendy South Dublin Set, who know we can whip them into shape in no time, or the incredible athlete’s of the Leinster Rugby Team that need limbering up before a big game.

But did you ever consider whether there is an age limit when it comes to taking classes with us?

Well it’s a question we get asked all the time …

I’ve been blessed with a career in the Health Industry that is heading towards 20 years. In that time I’ve had the pleasure of working with clients in their 60’s, 70’s & late 80’s.
These clients have taught me so much and I have genuinely gotten as much out teaching them Pilates as they have from taking my classes.

To watch a client of mine, who turns 82 next month, progress from a place where she could barely manage a 20 minute gentle movement session two years ago, to completing a level 2 group session at Platinum, gives me so much hope, inspiration and enlightenment. She nailed that class by the way!

Ageing is inevitable and most of us don’t really pay too much attention to it until a life event happens. Maybe it’s when back-ache sets in, or when you feel exhausted, or maybe it’s when you get ill or when some of these things happen to someone close to you. Life has a way of reminding us every now & then … you’re getting older. We all are!

My Mum taught me from a very young age, that active lifestyle is the secret to fulfilling a healthy & happy life and I’m always amazed by her energy, given that she is a hands-on Grandmother to 7.

Of course the anti-aging industry is booming with sales of botox, fillers, peels, wraps, surgeries which can all delay the signs of ageing on the outside. But the very best anti-aging treatment for you inside & out is Movement.

Centenarians and long-lived individuals tend to have common lifestyle attributes? They include a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, a social network and positive mental outlook.

One of biggest causes of degeneration as we age is our lack of mobility, stability & suppleness. Both structural and functional declines occur in most physiological systems, even in when there is no chronic diseases present. There are hundreds of articles & research studies to show the link between sedentary lifestyle & accelerated ageing.

Muscle loses size and strength which can contribute to weakness, fatigue & a reduced tolerance to exercise. Our muscles fibres shrink, reduce in numbers and changes in our nervous system cause muscles to have reduced tone & ability to contract and so the ageing cycle begins. There is often a direct correlation between this muscles loss and the onset of many degenerative diseases such as Osteoporosis, Stenosis, Compression Fractures, Arthritis, Adult Scoliosis, Disc Degeneration, Degenerative Spondylolisthesis, Sciatica to name but a few.

While it might seem pretty gloomy to worry about all of this, the great news is that Pilates can really help many of these complaints and it can have a positive impact no matter how late in life you start.

My almost 82 Year Old Client

She was told by her GP that Pilates could help improve her balance. She had a number of falls during the bad snow in 2010/2011 and ever since her mobility was restricted and be totally honest, her fear of falling was inhibiting her from moving freely. With her gaze fixed firmly on the floor during most of the first year we worked together, I had to find alternative ways to create better length tension relationships around her spine.

After a year she became more comfortable with the Reformer, the exercises and I noticed a definite shift in her head, neck and shoulder posture. Our sessions were now an hour in length and she was getting stronger each & every visit. She got back into regular walks again and her whole outlook changed.

My Golden Movers

So with a little help from the Platinum Family we have created a new class on the schedule called Golden Movers. It’s a class designed with this generation of clients in mind taking into consideration all of the elements of ageing and all of the movement restrictions that might come with this. It’s a very gentle group Reformer Pilates class that will encourage an active & healthy lifestyle and of course the social element of group class too.

The class run on Fridays at 11:30am in Sandymount & Monday 130pm in Stillorgan. If clients have specific physiological concerns, we will recommend a private consultation prior to joining Golden Movers.

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Written by

Milena Byrne

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