Pilates and Falls Prevention


Introduction to Falls

Did you know that falls are the number one reason that older people are admitted to A+E? 30% of people aged over 65 and 50% of those over 80 will fall at least once a year. Falling is a cause of distress, pain, injury, loss of confidence, loss of independence and mortality. It is clear falls have a huge impact on public health.

The good news is falls don’t have to be a normal part of the aging process, there is something we can do to reduce the risk and harmful consequences of falling.

Introduction to Pilates

The Pilates method combines a series of exercises with a focus on postural control, core stability, co-ordination, and body movement awareness. The exercises are mostly performed in lying or standing but can be adapted to sitting making accessible to all abilities. Starting with small simple movements to build confidence and gradually progressing the task. Equipment such as resistance bands, soft Pilates balls and magic circles can be used to add variety and challenge, but the exercises can be performed without any special equipment.

Pilates and Falls

It is proven that regular participation of Pilates exercises can reduce the risks of falling in the aging population. This is due to:

  • Increased levels of muscle strength particularly in the legs and abdominal muscles
  • Improved flexibility through stretching
  • Better levels of static and dynamic balance systems
  • Improved walking pattern: increased speed of strides, length, and rhythm
  • Aids everyday tasks such as using stairs
  • Reduced fear of falls and increased confidence in balance
  • Promoting a more active lifestyle
  • Improved posture

Pilates and Osteoporosis

With age, particularly in women due to hormonal changes, bones become weaker and more brittle. Osteoporosis is a condition where the body loses too much or makes too little bone tissue, which leaves bones brittle, weak, and more likely to break.

Therefore, it is particularly important as we get older to do what we can to prevent falling and build bone density. Pilates low-impact exercise approach is a safe way for someone with osteoporosis to exercise with individual modifications. Pilates can increase bone density as body parts move against the force of gravity, therefore strengthening weakened bones. As well as building up the surrounding muscles to support the joints.

Falls Prevention Tips

In addition to keeping mobile through Pilates exercise, you can reduce your risk of falls by making changes to your personal habits and home environment. Here are 10 fall-prevention tips for when at home:

  1. Clear the floor of mats/ rugs or other potential trip hazards
  2. Install equipment such as grab bars and handrails if needed
  3. Use walking aids if needed
  4. Make sure you have correctly fitted footwear and clothing
  5. Take extra care when washing, dressing, and using the stairs
  6. Have your eyes and ears checked regularly
  7. Be aware of medication side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness
  8. Ensure you have sufficient lighting of the rooms
  9. Have a falls pendent alarm or mobile phone with you
  10. Keep what you need within reach

At the White House Clinic we believe Pilates should be accessible to all, we offer regular classes for all levels with specialist instructors. This includes a chair-based class for those who struggle getting on and off the floor but want to keep fit and receive the previously mentioned benefits. The Pilates we offer is tailored to your abilities and personal goals which you can discuss with your instructor.

Finally, Pilates is enjoyable! Group exercise offers a social network of friendships improving quality of life, well-being and reduced social isolation.

For more information or to discuss further contact us here.

Emma Clements

Senior Physiotherapist & Clinical Pilates Instructor

Originally from Nottingham, Emma moved to Sheffield to study and ended up staying due to her love for the outdoors and the nearby Peak district. She graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2017 achieving a 1st BSc (Hons) in Physiotherapy.

Emma Clements

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