Q. I have osteoporosis and have been advised by my physician to take up exercise. Will Pilates benefit me at all?
A. When it comes to having osteoporosis or osteopenia, there are certain exercises you must limit or avoid. I would eliminate the majority of the floor (mat) exercises. Approximately seventy-five percent of the matwork movements are contraindicated for osteoporosis. There is good news, however- you can still benefit from reformer, cadillac, chair, spring board, and even some mat exercises when it comes to Pilates. The main focus is on postural awareness, alignment, and elongation through the spine, as well as the body. You must limit flexion, side bending, and rotational exercises and focus on strengthening the mid-back extensors, obliques, transversus abdominus, as well as other neglected muscles key for balance: intrinsic muscles of the feet (from footwork on reformer), the multifidus (to prevent rotation when balancing), the stabilizing muscles around the knee (to prevent injury or strain on the hips) and much more. Another amazing benefit is that you learn how to breathe properly and engage muscles necessary for effective posture through concentration. Since balance and control are the focus of each exercise, you will learn to be accustomed to this, and will be less apt to lose your balance, trip, or fall. Add side-lying exercises, and exercises on your hands and knees to create variety, as well as to challenge the smaller stabilizing muscles most often overlooked. If you lack the confidence or understanding, seek out an experienced Pilates instructor for private instruction who can tailor an exercise regime specifically for you. If you need guidance, feel free to email me at: Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com. The benefits to Pilates are numerous-what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of Pink Island Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for women on Marco Island. She is a certified personal trainer and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com. She can also be reached at www.PinkIslandFitness.com and (239) 333-5771. Please note: Check with your physician before starting any exercise regime. Exercise is at your own risk.