Here ’s a question I often get asked…..”Is Pilates okay for osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and osteopenia?”
The answer in short is “yes”…
Pilates is an ideal form of exercise for people suffering with osteoarthritis as it's low impact and focused on muscle strength, control, balance, posture and precise, aligned joint movement. In addition to that there are many amazing mental health benefits to be had by practicing breath control and mental focus!
To mitigate your risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia, or to treat the existing condition, recommended are regular weight-bearing or resistance training exercises.
In fact, movement has proven to be one of the most effective ways of slowing bone loss. Some studies even show it can aid in the regeneration of bone tissue.
Like our muscles, bones are living tissues. When we place force upon them through exercise, our bones adapt by building more cells and becoming more dense so they can better support the force exerted upon them.
In addition to strengthening bones, exercise serves to improve balance and coordination and keep our bodies agile. If someone who exercises frequently slips, they’re more likely to catch themselves before falling and avoid injury . And if they do suffer an injury, they are likely to recover more quickly.
There are some contraindications you should be aware of with Pilates. It is best to avoid any twisting, rolling or motions that involve rounding forward into flexion. While these sorts of moves can make up a large portion of a Pilates classes there are many beneficial moves you can still do. Look for moves that work to improve upper body posture, hip and shoulder mobility and core stability.
If you are considering adding Pilates into your physical fitness repertoire make sure you choose an instructor who is well aware of how to work with osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. You may be best to chose a “one on one” program with a Pilates instructor or try to find a class geared towards protecting and improving bone health.
If you suffer from back pain, check with your physician before beginning Pilates or any exercise program. There are simple exercises that help you learn the basic concepts of Pilates such as activating the core muscles and maintaining a neutral spine. From there, you can progress to the traditional Mat work. Listen to your body. Think quality of movement, not the quantity of repetitions.