Baby Boomers and Pilates

This generation makes up about 78 million people, the oldest are 63 this year and they are not giving up on themselves. They are turning to any type of exercise they can find and pushing themselves to the limit. From doing so they incur injuries and are given anti-inflammatory meds and in some cases physical therapy.

That’s when they decide to try Pilates… I see them every day and every day I hear some of the same complaints. “I hurt my back trying Pilates at the gym”, “I have old injuries and can’t lift weights anymore”, “I heard Pilates works your core.”

So now, I have to encourage them to work from the inside out, retrain their muscles and help them to connect their mind with their body. Something they may not have ever done.  Also, getting past 40 means injuries begin to creep up faster than before and once they do, Boomers tend to have a more aggressive approach to the healing process.

Baby Boomers are from a different time when Jack LeLanne was popular and later in the 70’s and 80’s when Jane Fonda was the best work out video around! If you go back and observe the exercises, there is a lot of jumping, pounding and movements that NOW at age 50 won’t seem easy or you will be in pain later.

We come to Pilates. The low impact, work the core mentality is enticing to the boomers and some have realized that Pilates is a better start than a failing finish. Pilates is very diverse in the sense that no matter what your issue or injury, there is a modification or piece of equipment that will help one to achieve the ultimate goal of the exercise. Their are specific exercises for specific need of the client. For instance, a 55 year old golfer who is experiencing pain during his/her swing can work specifically on the issue at hand while strengthening the rest of the body as well.

Women who have had abdominal surgery look to Pilates to help rid themselves of the “pooch”. Once the abdominal muscles have been cut, some experience little or no connection to their Powerhouse (part of the body that consists of all abdominals, low back, psoas, inner/outter thighs). With time and work a connection can be made and no need to fret since the rest of the body is getting the workout too. Pilates does not have a “arm” day or “leg” day, during the lesson the whole body is at work.

Men have different issues. For one it is hard enough to get them to try Pilates with out them feeling like it’s “not hard enough” or “feminine”. Remember, Pilates was a man and was a sickley child, thus inventing a regimine for his dissabilities, hardly feminine. Men normally have tight hamstrings, stronger upper body, narrower hips and a mind set of, ” no pain, no gain.” Practicing Pilates will benefit them with a more supple spine, looser hamstrings and increased flexibilty. Also, there are goals attached to every exercise which make it more fun and knowing you have something to work towards is helpful too.

The best advice I can give a Boomer is to listen to your body, if it doesn’t feel good, stop. Pilates allows you to work around the aches and pains of getting older while addressing the issues at hand.