Using Pilates To Keep A Senior’s BMI Healthy
by M Jackie Edwards
28% of Americans over the age of 65 are obese, according to America’s Health Rankings. While obesity in any individual is deemed as a health risk, it can be much more serious in seniors as it can contribute to heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, an increased risk of falls, depression, and breathing difficulties. As such, it’s important that the aging population adopt a healthy fitness routine which keeps them fit and healthy. And, there’s no better way to do this than to turn to an effective Pilates class aimed at older adults.
An accessible physical activity
One of the biggest risks to a senior’s BMI is their reluctance to exercise. Research from the Journal of Aging & Physical Activity has shown that health problems contribute to an aging individual opting not to exercise, while other research has found that seniors are self-conscious about exercising in front of others. The beauty of Pilates is that it can be done in small groups. What’s more, because Pilates requires individuals to focus on their bodies and their breathing technique, seniors won’t have time to worry about how they look. Another advantage is that Pilates is a low-cost way to stay healthy. Classes can be paid for on a session by session basis, and it’s even possible for seniors to practice it in the comfort of their own home, with nothing more than a Pilates mat and some enthusiasm.
It’s recommended that all individuals aged 65 and over participate in at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. This level of physical activity, along with a healthy diet will ensure that seniors stay within a healthy BMI range of between 18.5 and 24.9. Pilates can help seniors stay within this range as a 50-minute session can help a 150-pound senior lose 175 calories, according to Healthline. And, as the individual progresses and becomes stronger and more confident in their abilities, they’re more likely to advance to more difficult classes, where 254 calories can be burnt off.
Better bone density
As people age, they lose inches in height. This is because the bones in the spinal area naturally become thinner and weaker and a condition known as osteoporosis sets in. It’s estimated that 9% of seniors have osteoporosis, with women more likely to be affected. As BMI is calculated using an individual’s height and weight ratio, failing to lose weight when you lose inches from your height can result in you becoming overweight or obese. But, when an aging individual regularly practices Pilates, they will improve their bone density and improve the strength in the muscles which surround the bones in the spine. As a result, the onset of osteoporosis will be much slower and height loss is less likely to occur, meaning their weight will remain in proportion.
Pilates is an effective tool in helping keep seniors fit and within their recommended BMI. When used alongside a healthy diet, Pilates can strengthen an aging individual’s spinal bones, and provide an effective method for controlling weight.