If you have low bone density, and osteopenia or osteoporosis, you may have heard that Pilates is not the exercise for you. That’s only half right. While some forms of Pilates may cause harm to your fragile bones, others like STOTT PILATES® can help you rebuild bone density.
The Right Exercise
Those with low bone density are often advised by doctors and physiotherapists to try weight bearing exercises in order to preserve and build bone density. Instead of cycling or swimming, which can take much-needed pressure off your bones, you’ve likely been encouraged to walk or lift weights.
However, walking doesn’t apply any pressure to the bones in your arm, and few seniors feel comfortable lifting weights. The solution is to try STOTT PILATES® instead.
STOTT PILATES® can be adjusted for any level of physical ability. It doesn’t require equipment, unlike weight lifting, and uses only your body weight and gravity to add pressure. Sometimes Pilates involves equipment, but this is usually equipment which relieves pressure, like a trapeze table or TRX machine. Further, there are many Pilates movements that will apply gentle pressure to your arms, which are often neglected in other bone density exercises.
All types of Pilates involve weight bearing exercises, that’s not the problem. Instead, certain positions that Pilates demands of you can be dangerous when your bones are fragile, especially for your spine. The same thing goes for yoga.
No one with osteoporosis should be rolling, on their hip or shoulder. They shouldn’t be twisting their spine, even by reaching behind themselves. They also should avoid leaning forward or curving their spine forward.
The Movements and Goals of STOTT PILATES®
We often adjust STOTT PILATES® programs to avoid these dangerous movements and allow those with low bone density to enjoy the benefits of Pilates. Instead of those dangerous movements, we might work on:
- Leg pulls and circles
- Push ups
- Chest expansion
- Single and double leg kicks
- Side-lying movements
The movements we choose for these classes are designed to accomplish a few goals, including:
- Improve bone density especially in the hips and spine
- Improve strength to help support weakened bones
- Improve balance, to prevent falls and fractures
- Improve range of motion and flexibility
- Improve posture, which can address pain in some parts of the body
Talk to Your Instructor
If you have low bone density you should let your STOTT PILATES® instructor know, so that they can teach you to modify your movements to maximize your bones and keep you safe.
If you’re not sure if one of our classes is right for you, please reach out to us. We can let you know which of our classes fits your goals best.