Wed 02nd January 2019

How Pilates is Brrrrrrilliant for Bone Health

Brrrr…it’s getting a bit chilly outside and spring seems a long way off!  And in these colder and often icy conditions, we are all at more risk of falling or slipping over. So, this month we are focusing on Bone Health and the brrrrrilliant (see what I did there?) positive impact doing regular Matwork Pilates can have on your maintaining and strengthening your precious bones.

As we age keeping our bones strong and healthy is so important so we can keep active and stronger longer. And really, we are aging from the time we are born, and so building bone health through diet and exercise is so important from the get go!  As puberty kicks in, girls especially need to ensure their diet is rich in calcium as well as keeping their joints and bones strong to fend off symptoms of osteoporosis later in life. During our 20s and 30s out bone mass density (BMD) remains relatively stable, but from 35 (who would have thought so young!) there begins a gradual loss for men and women. For women, this becomes more rapid following menopause due to falling levels of oestrogen. NHS statistics also show that 1 in 3 over 65s will be hospitalised due to a fall.

The benefits of exercise such as Pilates is that we are maintaining bone mass, improving strength and flexibility, and also improving balance which in turn reduces the risk of falls and therefore risk of fractures. Lots of reps of our regular favourites such as Tennis Ball Rising, 4-Point kneeling and The Dart as well as our use of resistance bands, and our beloved Halo and SitFits, are tip-top-tastic for keeping our joints strong.

And here’s the science: Regular weight bearing (3-5 times per week) and resistance/strength exercise (2-3 times per week) help increase your BMD by stimulating bone growth.  Resistance/strength training is particularly important in increasing BMD and therefore reducing the risk of fractures occurring Balance focused exercises have been shown to reduce a person’s risk of falls by 25% (NIH consensus development conference statement, 2000).

So, Pilates can offer benefits to all people, men and women, from our teenagers to our older clients, and specifically those with osteopenia/osteoporosis.  A recent study in 2015 by Endera et al showed that people who participated in Pilates saw an increase in their BMD, as well as improvements in their physical performance and their quality of life.

All our matwork classes at #VitaPilates involve bone health exercises, and our #VitaTeen and #VitaGentle classes specifically focus on Bone Health for teenagers and clients look. This spring Samm will be off to #BodyControlPilates HQ to continue her training about the latest development in managing Osteoporosis and Bone Health.