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When you’re over 50 and looking to get in shape, heading to the gym might not feel as natural or comfortable as it may have felt when you were younger. Also, taking the time out from your busy schedule for the gym can be quite a routine to keep up with. Thankfully, Pilates and its DVDs come to the rescue.
The best Pilates DVDs for women over 50s are “Pop Pilates with Cassey Ho” and “Pilates for Beginners with Kristin McGee.” To lose weight, “Shrink Your Fat Zones Pilates” will be ideal. If you need something brief, yet effective, take a look at the “10 Minute Solution” DVD program by Lara Hudson.
Videos and DVDs are great to learn and practice Pilates from home. In this article, we’ll talk in a bit more detail about the aforementioned Pilates DVDs and a few others that we recommend, besides throwing light on benefits of Pilates for over-50 women, recommended Pilates gear, and a few other pertinent things.
What Is Pilates?
Pilates is a low-impact exercise that helps strengthen your muscles and improve your flexibility and postural alignment. Although the exercises target different areas of the human body, the primary focus is on the core. According to a study, Pilates classes for eight weeks helped improve flexibility, balance, and abdominal endurance in the participants.
Pilates can be done without or with equipment. The things that matter the most are your focus, deliberate movements, and being aware of your physical self. A Pilates workout session is usually 45 to 60 minutes long. However, there are programs that are shorter in duration, yet impactful. You’ll learn more about such programs later in this writeup.
Pilates and yoga might seem similar, but they are not. However, you could mix Yoga with Pilates if you want to. Here is a video that will help you learn how to do that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-Xeeu2iZf0
Benefits of Pilates for Women in Their 50s
For the older folks, particularly women who are likely to undergo lots more hormonal changes in the body than men, staying fit is imperative. However, when you’re old and the bones and tendons are not as forgiving as they were when you were younger, the majority of exercise forms could be hard to execute and also potentially harmful. Pilates helps you stay fit and healthy while considerably reducing injury risks weight-bearing exercises may cause.
With a focus on physical movement quality (and not quantity) and controlled breathing, Pilates is a safe and effective way for older individuals to stay in shape. Your joints would thank you for your decision to incorporate Pilates into your daily routine. Not to mention, Pilates is ideal for older women who’ve never exercised before or have been on a fairly long “no-exercise” sojourn.
Unlike other exercise forms, Pilates primarily focuses on building your core or the muscles deep inside your abdomen, in addition to the muscles in the vicinity of your spine. Most of the physical maneuvering is done in sitting or reclining positions, with many of them being partially weight-bearing and low-impact.
Pilates Increases Balance and Stability
Pilates focuses on mid-body movements. It helps develop your midrange and slowly moves toward your extremities (legs and arms) while maintaining full control near the joints. Pilates would teach you stability and control with little range of motion and then graduate to a bigger motion range as you gain control over your movements and grow in confidence.
As a woman who’s over 50, increased stability and control would help you with mobility. With age, you may lose some of your coordination and balance. Pilates helps with balance by increasing flexibility and strength both in your legs and core. You are likely to not fall over due to loss of balance. Pilates also helps during rehabilitation from surgical procedures such as a knee or hip replacement surgery.
Pilates Helps With Various Ailments
Pilates could help with several age-related conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, pelvic floor problems, and high blood pressure. Arthritis patients benefit from Pilates’ gentle mid-range movements, which decrease joint compression risks. Pilates’ simple leg exercises could increase bone density and mass in both the hip and the spine. Since there’s a good amount of stretching and extending involved, Pilates also helps develop healthy postures.
- alleviate body pains and aches
- mitigate injury
- improve breathing
- ease back injury concerns
According to a study, Pilates can slow or even reverse the effects of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and other debilitating diseases. The exercises’ mid-range motion could help people become more agile and overcome stiffness. It could even assist with brain traumas, such as a stroke.
Best Pilates DVDs for Over 50s Women
If your busy schedule or the unwillingness to do Pilates exercises in a studio or under a real instructor is preventing you from achieving your fitness goals, the following Pilates DVDs would be perfect alternatives.
Pop Pilates with Cassey Ho
Pop Pilates is an excellent Pilates DVD for women who lack the motivation to exercise. The instructor has designed the program in a way that the viewer feels inspired at all times to keep going. The workout program has been structured to target your whole body, ensuring a toned and lean body. If you have weight issues (which most women over 50 have), this DVD will help you become fitter within weeks.
The hour-long Pilates routine could be easily done in your home. You just need access to a DVD player. If you have a computer with a built-in DVD drive, it will work fine too. Just make sure your computer has a DVD player since most modern laptops do not come with one. In fact, chances are high that your laptop doesn’t accept DVDs. If that’s the case, check out this external CD/DVD player from Rioddas to hook on to your computer.
Shrink Your Fat Zones Pilates – Denise Austin
This Pilates DVD is designed to help you get rid of the stubborn fat from different parts of your body. According to the instructor, results become noticeable in three weeks if you follow the instructions and stick to the program religiously. The program focuses on three specific regions of the body: arms, abdominals, and thighs.
Each area gets 15 minutes of focus in three different sessions, which means full-body toning could be achieved in just 45 minutes a day. The instructor, Denise Austin, has a very affable and pleasing personality, which shows through her videos. Denise’s presence, in fact, helps you stay interested in the program and get motivated to work out without skipping a day.
10 Minute Solution – Lara Hudson
As the name suggests, the 10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results Pilates DVD consists of 10-minute sessions that target different areas of your body. There are five separate workout sessions, which are 10 minutes each. Each session helps you work on a specific part of your body. The workouts included consist of a full-body blaster, a flexibility component, a glutes and thigh workout, a waist slimmer, and a shoulder and arm workout plan.
Besides including a relatively efficient set of exercises, the value component of this program also goes up with Lara Hudson’s name attached to it. For the uninitiated, Hudson is a Pilates expert who is well known within the Pilates community. Visit her official website to know and learn more about her.
Element: Pilates Weight Loss for Beginners – Brooke Siler
If you want a Pilates DVD program that specially caters to amateurs, this DVD by Brooke Siler is the one to start things with. As the name indicates, the program has been designed to keep the requirements of people who’ve never done Pilates before. If you are not sure whether Pilates would suit you, this program lets you test the waters.
The program is ideal for women who’d like to burn the maximum amount of calories in a healthy way. Also, the program is designed to help you tone, strengthen, and lengthen your muscles. The exercises featured are pretty low-impact and simple, which adds to its beginner-friendly characteristic. They are likely to target your thighs, abs, and hips. There is a good amount of cardio thrown in too.
Pilates for Beginners with Kristin McGee
If you are looking for another Pilates program catering to absolute beginners, this DVD program by Kristin McGee is a great program. It will help you improve your strength, achieve better posture, and get a sleek physique overall. This hour-long program consists of a couple of 10-minute workouts along with two 20-minute exercise sessions. Kristin helps you mix and match the different workouts to construct a more effective and challenging workout routine.
The four segments are easy to follow, with one of the segments focusing on basic mat techniques. The step-by-step instructions truly help you execute every movement. Also, Kristin communicates the reasoning behind the different moves and explains how they’ll benefit you in general. Expect increased stamina and flexibility, toned muscles, and a tighter body with this program.
Mat Workout Based on the Work of J.H. Pilates – Denise Austin
Though not brand-new, this DVD program is perhaps ideal for both women and men who are forbidden from running, jumping, body-twisting, etc. Your physical health problems should not prohibit you from exercising and leading a healthy lifestyle in general. People who have spinal cord problems and would like a Pilates program that works around their condition will find this DVD program ideal.
Based on Joseph Humbert Pilates’ teachings, this program is a classic. The workouts have been devised and structured in a way that you don’t spend a lot of time every day doing them. The positions and movements are pretty easy, yet quite challenging. Not just over-50 women, even people who are 60 or above, can execute the workouts detailed through this program.
Pilates – Beginning Mat Workout with Ana Caban
If you need a Pilates DVD program that focuses solely on mat-based Pilates workouts, consider this program. Women with bone issues or who cannot afford to put their bones and joints through any kind of stress would find this program right up their alley. The program is 60 minutes long and comprises different workouts that are taught in a step by step manner. Not to mention, the program is good enough for other beginners as well.
Ana Caban, the instructor, has done a great job with this program by keeping the different mat workouts as interesting and unique as possible. She clearly explains the body areas the exercises target and what results to expect from them so that you have a clear idea where you’re headed.
Winsor Pilates – Mari Winsor
Winsor Pilates is a DVD program that consists of three discs with goals of their own. The first disc focuses on Pilates basics and the seven workouts considered as the base of the exercise form. There’s also 3D training to help you learn proper breathing and form. Disc 2 is a 26-minute long daily plan that contains a 20-minute workout for body sculpting and slimming. The routine will help you tone and tighten your thighs and buttocks.
The third disc is a more exhaustive, 57-minute plan containing workouts for the entire body. Called “accelerated body sculpting,” Mari Winsor aims to tone, shrink, and strengthen different areas of your body with the program. The routine helps strengthen your core, improve your flexibility and stamina, and achieve a more sculpted look.
Recommended Pilates Gear/Tools
Pilates can be done at home, in a studio, or even in an open space. To get started, however, you may need some basic Pilates gear. For newbies, these gears will certainly add a level of comfort and convenience. From mats and clothing to bands, balls, and reformers, there are quite a few things you may require.
If you’re doing Pilates at home, you would need an exercise mat. Kindly note there are different types of fitness mats. The ones you use for yoga may not be ideal for Pilates. A Pilates map is usually on the thicker side. The thicker mat protects your back against your floor’s hard surface, making Pilates exercises such as the roll-up more comfortable to do.
There are mats that can be used for both yoga and Pilates. And then there are mats that are purpose-designed for Pilates workouts. If you are looking for a mat that’s great for both Pilates and yoga, this exercise mat by HemingWeigh would be ideal. Its extra-thick foam is great for performing a variety of Pilates exercises.
Resistance Bands and Exercise Balls
Exercise balls and bands are not conventional Pilates equipment. In fact, people have been doing Pilates without such gear for long. These exercise gears have become popular in the recent past, inside both homes and studios. Amateur Pilates practitioners would be able to do various Pilates moves a bit more easily with such equipment by their side.
The different Pilates exercises that these tools facilitate include various warm-up exercises, roll-ups, leg stretching and bending, individual leg exercises, etc. Refer to your Pilates DVD to learn what specific exercises you could do with balls and bands and how.
Pilates can be done in any clothing that’s fairly comfortable and moves well. It should, however, not be revealing or too baggy. Clothing that’s designed for Pilates and similar exercises can take your Pilates sessions to the next level. When you have proper Pilates clothes in the cupboard, you’ll simply want to exercise more.
When picking clothing for Pilates, make sure the outfits are snug. If you like to keep your top tucked in, particularly when performing advanced sequences such as inversions, a high-waist legging would be ideal. Your tops must be tailored to facilitate precision movements, which are fundamental to doing Pilates right.
Strappy tanks that feel like camisoles are great too. This workout top by Dibaolong is a solid top for your Pilates training and other exercises, by the way. Other items you may add to your Pilates wardrobe include versatile tank tops, which you could mix and pair with other outfits.
Books might seem unnecessary or redundant when you have DVDs to boot. But that’s not the case. In fact, they can complement your Pilates DVDs quite well. Most importantly, they are very convenient and ready to use anytime.
Books do not require much setting up. You just need a quiet and comfortable place to read. Most importantly, books can help you take a deep dive into Pilates, learn about the various exercise principles and their history, etc., which would help you appreciate the exercise even more.
If you fancy a book that serves as your comprehensive Pilates guide, consider picking up The Pilates Body by Brooke Siler. If you’d like to get a more scientific perspective of things, Rael Isacowitz’s Pilates Anatomy is an awesome read.
If you’ve never done Pilates before, it’s recommended you give it a shot. It’s a fairly light yet effective form of exercise to increase your strength, flexibility, and mobility. Besides helping you shed those excess pounds, Pilates can have a positive influence on your mind too. The Pilates DVDs mentioned above are designed to help you get started – irrespective of your size, shape, and knowledge of Pilates.
Having said that, do not do Pilates if you have a medical condition and are not sure how it will be impacted by your Pilates regimen. For instance, any kind of flexion exercise may prove detrimental for people with osteoporosis. Similarly, any kind of extension could lead to injuries in people with stenosis. Therefore, always let your doctor know what you’re up to, particularly when you’re taking up some new physical activity or routine.
- Self: 8 Things to Know Before You Take Pilates Classes
- Balanced Body: Pilates and Older Adults: A Gentler, Effective Way to Stay Fit
- Verywell Fit: How to Buy Pilates Gear for Your Home
- Verywell Fit: Home Circuit Workout With Ball, Band, and Pilates Ring
- Forbes: The Best Women’s Workout Clothes For Pilates 2019
- Mama Mia: Why you should really try pilates.
- Sixty and Me: What are the Benefits of Pilates for Women Over 60? You May Be Surprised!