Reasons Why You Should Exercise: If you are getting older, you should be exercising!
Everyone is getting older, whether we want to or not. From the time we are born, we are aging. In the United States, there is the continued growth of aging adults. In 2014, 46 million people age 65 and over lived in the United States, accounting for 15 percent of the total population. The older population in 2030 is projected to be more than twice as large as in 2000, growing from 35 million to 74 million and representing 21 percent of the total U.S. population (1). With the older population, chronic conditions can occur which affect the ability to age “successfully”. Many of the risks of these chronic conditions can be decreased or averted through not smoking, eating a healthy diet and get regular physical activity (2, 3).
As we age, most of us would prefer a good quality of life (this can vary from person to person). To age “successfully” we need to take care of our bodies. As noted above, one of these ways is to be physically active. According to the US Surgeon General in an educational handout titled National Prevention Strategy Active Living, adults need to be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity of exercise per week (4). Physical activity will vary from person to person and also may change as you get older. What is most important is that you stay physically active including aerobic activity, muscle-strengthening activities, and activities to increase balance and flexibility (4).
The Pilates method of exercise is one of the ways that you can be physically active. One of the reasons that I enjoy Pilates is that the method has a variety of equipment you can use for both cardiovascular and strengthening exercises as well as balance and flexibility. One of the pieces of Pilates equipment includes a reformer. The reformer has a variety of springs. By changing the spring tension, the Pilates trainer is able to provide assistance to the exercise or make the exercise more challenging.
If you are looking for a cardiovascular exercise program, the Pilates method can help you increase your heart rate by use of a jump-board. A reformer jump-board is an attachment that can be added to the reformer. By lying on your back or on your side on the reformer, you can “jump” on the jump board and increase your heart rate. I typically like to work up to 30 seconds of jumping, then rest to recover and do it again throughout the Pilates exercise. Besides increasing your heart rate, jumping on the jump board is a great way to “load your bones” in a safe position.
As you age, it is important to stay physically active. If you are struggling to find the right type of exercise for you, contact me or another Physical Therapist with Pilates training through the APTA, Polestar Pilates or the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA).
Patricia Oys PT, DPT, MSPT, CEEAA, PMA ® -CPT
Owner of Therapeutic Pilates
Patricia Oys received her BS in Physical Therapy from the University of MN, her MS PT from the University of Indianapolis and her transitional doctorate degree (DPT) from St. Scholastica. She has extensive training in Pilates with both classical and rehab training. She is certified in Pilates through the Pilates Method Alliance
She is passionate about helping people develop the right type of exercise program for them. In her leisure time, she loves running, Pilates, gardening and spending time with her family.
- Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being. Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-related Statistics. Washington, D.C: US Government Printing Office, 2016. Available at https://agingstats.gov/docs/LatestReport/Older-Americans-2016-Key-Indicators-of-WellBeing.pdf. Accessed February 20, 2019.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The State of Aging and Health in America 2013. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2013.Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/State-Aging-Health-in-America-2013.pdf. Accessed February 20, 2019
- Fries JD. Measuring and monitoring success in compressing morbidity. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139:455–459.
- https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/priorities/prevention/strategy/active-living.pdf Accessed March 3, 2019