Those of us fortunate to live in Summit County know that the older we get doesn’t mean the slower we get. In fact, Summit County breeds highly active older adults. Many mature bodies take classes in my Pilates studio, and in 14 years I’ve realized that a healthy foundation keeps you moving as you age. We’ve all heard strength, exibility, and balance are pillars in healthy aging, but what exercises, and where do the motivation and inspiration come from? Pilates and Ballet Barre are the perfect groundwork to keep your body healthy, as well as enhance your physical activities down the road.
Realize this is not just about age. At any point in life, it can be difficult to have motivation, energy, and time to do what it takes to stay healthy, but the importance does heighten with age. Working out in a studio setting lends motivation, inspiration, and guidance from expert instructors and other participants. Routinely exercising with the same trainer makes goal setting and follow-through possible, while accountability and encouragement can stem from the other class members. When you retire, or the kids move out, you may find your inner circle transforming. I’ve seen friends made in my studio and these connections add reason and motivation to go to class. Keeping a regular workout regimen with instructors you connect with, and other participants you enjoy, help you stay inspired, and working harder later in life.
Once you’ve found the drive, and an expert instructor, Pilates can enhance your current repertoire to keep you healthy longer. Pilates is a gentle, yet powerful full-body exercise that focuses on centering, control, concentration, precision, breathing, and fluid movement. We all know how common it is, by the time you retire, to have a hip, knee, shoulder, or other joint that has needed surgery or causes issue. The precision and fluid movement practiced in Pilates helps these conspicuous areas tremendously. The exercises build strength, stability, and a litheness that keeps your body supple and strong, allowing you to do the things you love later in life. Also, Pilates is unique in the way that it spotlights the spine and trunk. It builds abdominal and back strength, and develops strong lungs. The way you bend and sequence your spine, vertebrae by vertebrae, creates spinal flexibility and opens your ribs and back so you can take larger more advantageous breaths. You’ll be able to clear your lungs better with belly strengthening exhales, which come in handy during cold and flu season.
Posture and balance come with foot strength and the emphasis on the trunk. Concentration on your feet is pivotal for your equilibrium as you get older. Because all 500 Pilates exercises are full-body, the dexterity and power you establish in your feet creates a stable foundation. The footwork in Pilates enhances many physical activities. Which sounds better: a long day in ski boots with cramping, bunyon laden feet or supple athletic feet springing out of those boots? Malleable feet and ankles are the springboard for overall balance and agility. This is why Pilates keeps you upright and steady as you get older.
An excellent compliment to Pilates for healthy aging is Ballet Barre classes. A fast paced, full body, ballet inspired workout choreographed to music. Unlike Pilates, the repetitions are high, to target each muscle group quickly and efficiently. The rhythm, choreography, and upbeat movements raise your heart rate, and develop your coordination. Like Pilates the whole body is addressed during the 50-minute class. I’ve been told the intensity of the classes keeps my students’ minds focused and can be a welcome distraction from things like caretaking an ailing parent or partner.
Although Barre classes can seem di cult, especially at rst, my clients tell me they continue to improve, even as they age. Clients say that Barre classes have stimulated their ski turns and hiking stamina. These same people don’t underestimate what they are capable of even as they age.
In general, Pilates and Ballet Barre keep you healthy and active at any age. However, I have seen many mature bodies with deep mind body connection capable of performing activities akin to their peers ten, 20, and 30 years younger. This just may be the reason that 60 is the new 40.
Bridget Crowe is the owner of Body Essentials Pilates in Dillon. She has more than 2,000 hours of training from the Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado and works extensively with her mentor Kim Haroche. Bridget has completed her Master training and is a host advisor for the Pilates Center. In 2014, Bridget was trained as a Ballet Barre instructor and in 2016 became certified to teach aerial yoga. Pilates, Ballet Barre, and aerial yoga have helped shape Bridget’s unique and comprehensive teaching style. (970) 468-1607 or visit BodyEssentialsPilates.com