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Disability Pilates: Exercises for Disabled and Seniors

Updated/Revised Date: 2019-05-21

Synopsis: Pilates Exercises for seniors, people with disabilities and or health conditions, includes examples and lists local Pilates classes.

Main Document

Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates in Germany. As of 2005 there are 11 million people who practice the discipline regularly and 14,000 instructors in the United States.

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Pilates is defined as an exercise system that focuses on stretching and strengthening the whole body to improve balance, muscle-strength, flexibility and posture. Pilates fitness system was developed in the early 20th century by the Greek German-born Joseph Pilates. It is especially practiced in the United States (where Pilates lived, developed and taught his method) and the United Kingdom (where he lived and taught early stages of his method).

Pilates (or the Pilates method)

Female practicing a Pilates pose.
Female practicing a Pilates pose.

A series of about 500 exercises inspired by calisthenics, yoga and ballet that improves flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness. It was devised in the 1920s by physical trainer Joseph Pilates as a way to help injured athletes and dancers safely return to exercise and maintain their fitness.

Pilates basics are designed around helping you to get stronger, more flexible and even to have improved coordination. Pilates also uses specific sequential breathing methods combined with intense concentration on a specific body part to create an effective exercise routine.

Pilates is one of the most popular exercise regimes today but many people still wonder if it is only for toning and sculpting or if you can lose weight with Pilates as well. Pilates has been designed to strengthen and tone your core muscles but of course your other muscle groups are included in the workout as well. In order to utilize Pilates to lose weight you will have to combine this unique styled workout with another form of cardio.

Keep in mind that Pilates offers an all around exercise method; not only is it low impact, but you gain a better posture and your muscle tone is improved. You study how to align your spine, creating the illusion of thigh lengthening and building a stronger, better posture. This program keeps arthritis sufferers free from stiffness and pain, so working out doesn't need to hurt any longer.

Because Pilates has such a low impact, you can decrease stiffness and joint pain at the same time you boost muscle strength, stamina and flexibility. Cardiac health improves. You may even lose weight, although usually it takes a few months until you learn all the best exercises and routines for keeping the pain under control.


Flexibility is important for arthritis sufferers:

With Pilates exercise moves, the sheer range of motion raises the body's flexibility and improves stiffness.

Muscles become stronger, lending more support for arthritic joints.

Combining gentle Pilates with aerobics can burn off even more calories, and keeping your weight down helps lower stresses on your joints.

With Pilates, one of the very first things you will need to learn is to focus on the "powerhouse" or the core of your body. It is just a fancy way of saying "your abdomen". The basics of Pilates teach that if you work your body movements from the core or the powerhouse, then your muscles will move more easily and fully through their entire range of motion.

The Pilates Rehabilitation Series instructs students in the use of a Nagi-evolved classification system of disability.

The Nagi model includes four classifications that aid in determining the severity of disability, and identifies the best path of care.

The classifications include pathology, impairment, functional limitation, and disability. The use of this model improves the holistic implementation of Pilates to meet the individual needs of patients in an evidence based structure.

Facts Regarding Pilates

Always consult with your doctor before embarking on any new fitness program, especially if you are over 40 years, have a pre-existing medical condition, or haven't exercised in a long time.

Subtopics and Associated Subjects

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Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World.

Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2019, May 21). Disability Pilates: Exercises for Disabled and Seniors. Disabled World. Retrieved January 20, 2022 from