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An Important Note On Pilates and Osteoporosis

By September 12, 2008

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senior fitnessIt's been on my mind to write about a certain distinction that needs to be made about osteoporosis and Pilates. I sometimes overhear people say: "Oh, Pilates is good for osteoporosis", and that sometimes worries me. It's true Pilates can be done in a way that benefits people with osteoporosis. But what I think what most people mean when they say that Pilates is good for osteoporosis is that it is good for helping to prevent osteoporosis.
The weight bearing aspects of Pilates, along with the focus on alignment, stability, and core strength all come together to build bone and support the structure of the body. So yes to helping prevent osteoporosis. But once a person actually has osteoporosis, they are in a whole different exercise scenario. The bones are fragile and many Pilates exercises are not recommended. For example, the flexion (forward bending) Pilates exercises, of which there are many, are not to be performed. Also, great care has to be taken with the use of any Pilates equipment. At that point, it is very important to work with a trained instructor who is aware of the guidelines for working with osteoporosis and who can tailor a Pilates program for the individual.

A person with osteoporosis can still expect to use Pilates to strengthen their core in a way that helps support the spine, to gain the benefits of enhanced range of motion and flexibility, and to enjoy the rejuvenating qualities of Pilates exercise. But please, if you have osteoporosis, do the research, check with your doctor, and work with a fully certified instructor.

Related Links:
Is Pilates Good for Seniors?
Exercise and Osteoporosis

photo: getty images
May 7, 2010 at 6:00 pm
(1) Christian Noni says:

Interesting article. However, I do have one main concern. I am a fitness trainer of 5 years and I myself have osteoporosis. As every body (physically) is different, I think its essential for readers who are seeking advice to really consider the effects of osteoporosis and your current age. I am 27 years old and I have clients who are 21 to 60 who have osteoporsis. Finding workout exercises that is most adequate for them vary immensely. Condition of osteoporosis is a general concern for me with my clients but age can play a factor that is just as important.

Thanks so much!


August 12, 2010 at 5:33 pm
(2) michelle says:

If you are a trainer or fitness instructor, google the work by Sherrie Betz, especially relating to osteoporosis and pilates.

March 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm
(3) Paula Grider says:

As far as the contraindications for osteoporosis and how that affects the Pilates repertoire exercises and any other form of exercise, those contraindications are the same for “everyone.” Age doesn’t matter where that is concerned. Please research Sherri Betz, PT/Pilates Instructor, Sara Meeks, PT and Rebekah Rotstein.

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