Seated Pilates

What I love about Pilates is that it can be practised by everyone, whatever your age, gender or fitness level.  It is also versatile and therefore easily modified for various health and medical conditions. Traditional Pilates mat work is done lying down on a mat and I’ve found that some clients struggle getting down onto the mat and then transitioning into the different exercises.

active senior women yoga class on chairs

“I felt I needed some muscle strengthening exercises to improve my core strength.  I damaged my left knee in a fall 4 years ago in a fall and it wasn’t getting any better, so my son suggested Pilates.
I also have a dodgy hip so scrabbling about on the floor didn’t appeal to me as I cant get up again and having high blood pressure, laying flat on the floor gives me a headache.  I began by sitting on a chair and slowly and gently did the exercises.  After a few weeks I had much more flexibility in my spine and more strength in my arms and shoulders.  A 40 year old lower back pain (due to poor posture) has completely disappeared, my knee is recovering and I wont need a hip operation now.  I feel 2 inches taller when I walk because of my improved posture and muscle support.
You don’t have to be the perfect shape, size or age to do Pilates”.
Joy Francis (late 60s).


How does Pilates benefit the older or less mobile population?

For the older population keeping fit is essential. But so many forms of exercise can be hard on the bodies of older adults.  As we get older muscle mass begins to deteriorate as part of the natural ageing process so keeping fit and supple is essential.  Many forms of exercise are high impact and can be tough on the bodies of older clients.  Pilates also has the benefit of positively affecting postural positions and therefore putting less pressure on the weight-bearing joints such as knees and ankles.

Pilates is perfect for older adults because it is low impact compared to many other forms of exercise, and is not nearly as severe on the joints as most workouts are.   Pilates focuses on controlled breathing and quality of movement-not quantity of repetitions, it’s because of this that many experts agree that it is one of the best ways for older adults to stay healthy.

What exactly is your ‘core’?

The core comprises of the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine. Control of the core is achieved by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle.  Core stability can be thought of as the ability to keep the pelvis and spine in the desired position while moving the limbs or the whole body through space without undesired distortions or compensations. Someone who is not maintaining desired control of this area in a given movement and who arches the lower back or moves the pelvis excessively is often said to have a weak core or demonstrate poor core stability or poor core control.

Can I still do Pilates with my medical condition?

Pilates can help with a variety of ailments whether they are age related or not. Arthritis sufferers benefit because movements are mid-range and gentle and decrease the chance of joint compression but maintain the range of movement around the affected joints.

For sufferers of osteoporosis or stenosis, Pilates can also help. For osteoporosis the simple and standing Pilates leg exercises may increase bone density in both the spine and the hip. For lumbar stenosis there are exercises that can stretch out tight back muscles and strengthen the extensor muscles of the spine to counteract the forces of gravity that can pull people into a hunched position. Precautions must be taken, however.  For example any type of flexion exercise is not good for someone with osteoporosis. Conversely, any type of spine extension may cause injury to someone with stenosis. If you have either of these conditions you can still practice Pilates but I will run through modifications with you prior to starting the classes.

What is Seated Pilates & am I suitable?

Seated based Pilates is exactly that, it is a modified version of the floor based mat repertoire but done in in a chair. The class is ideal for clients who would find it difficult to spend an hour on the mat or would have difficulty moving into different positions on the floor. The class will focus on core exercises to strengthen the spine, increase strength and mobility of the joints in order to improve the function of the body in daily tasks. We will use a combination of small props; these props support chair based exercises and provide the body with feedback during the movements.

 Do I need to have done Pilates before?

No, the class will be a beginner’s level and will build upon the principles of Pilates in each class. However if you have attended classes before and wish to try a chair Pilates you are also still welcome as movement on a chair is a different experience to mat based work.

Will we just be seated in a chair?

No! As the weeks progress I will build on the chair movements so that some can be done in standing in order to focus on balance, ankle strength and awareness of the feet.  As we get older we lose some of our balance and coordination.  Increased control and stability is therefore crucial as it can help improve functional movement, including balance and posture.

Do I need to get permission from my doctor before starting Pilates?

Currently if you are not doing any form of physical exercise it is important to inform your doctor before you begin.

Will I need to fill in a health screening form?

Yes, prior to the block of classes starting I will send you a form to complete so that I can be aware of any pre-existing medical conditions.  Unfortunately you cannot start classes without completing this form.

If you have any further questions then check out my FAQs page, for any other questions that aren’t answered here then please get in touch.

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