Tag Archive for: Pilates for Seniors

Getting Started with Gentle Pilates

Beginning a new fitness routine can be intimidating, especially for people who are older, injured, or just getting started with movement. To get stronger and build healthy habits, you need to find a system that you enjoy and works well for your body — but where do you start?

A whole-body exercise method like Pilates is a great option for beginners because it is suitable for all bodies and every stage of life. It is a safe and effective way to improve your core strength, stability, and flexibility. 

The different Pilates levels help structure the exercises to make sure you’re learning the essentials before moving safely to more challenging movements. For people starting out, this often begins with gentle Pilates classes so they can learn how to do beginner-level exercises with good form. These require less strength and coordination than more advanced levels.

Get started with a Pilates introductory session or explore our MOVE On Demand offering online, Movement Essentials: Gentle Pilates for Everyday Life

What is gentle Pilates?

In these fitness classes, clients practice the principles of Pilates to help them build the foundation for a successful Pilates experience. You will use modifications and work at a pace appropriate for your postural and health issues. 

Gentle Pilates classes might be focused on balance or mobility so that you gain an understanding of your body and begin a gentle exploration of correct movement, with particular emphasis on breath control, abdominal support, and pelvic/spinal alignment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a beginner do Pilates?

Yes, Pilates is for everybody! Anyone can benefit from doing Pilates, including older people, people who haven’t worked out before, and people just coming out of physical therapy with injuries. 

Read our beginner’s guide to Pilates here.

Is Pilates gentle exercise?

Pilates can be done in its most basic form gently and simply, with the option of adding complexity and more challenging exercises as ability, strength, and coordination increase. Anyone who wants increased core and overall strength, fewer injuries, better coordination, and better muscle function can and should do Pilates.

How often should I do Pilates?

We recommend practicing Pilates three times per week to see the most rapid change in your body. However, we recognize that time and finances can be a barrier. We can work with you to create a customized plan that meets your needs.

How do I get started with Pilates?

At MOVE Wellness, our clients start with an introductory Pilates session so we can assess your current fitness level and learn more about your goals and interests. This helps us create a customized movement plan and recommend next steps. 

For those who prefer to workout from home (or aren’t located in the Ann Arbor area), MOVE Wellness also offers an online 28-day program, Movement Essentials: Gentle Pilates for Everyday Life, through our MOVE On Demand service.

Including movement into your daily routine can help promote better bone and muscle health by building strength and endurance. You have many options when it comes to exercise, including walking, swimming, and Pilates. 

Many people have a preconceived idea that Pilates is only for young, extremely fit people, but the reality is that Pilates is suitable for all bodies at any stage of life. At MOVE Wellness, we’ve helped both men and women of all ages (including clients in their sixties and seventies!) incorporate Pilates into their routine to safely strengthen their body and support life’s activities. 

Whether you want to workout in the comfort of your home or visit a studio, there’s a Pilates class or session that can fit your unique fitness needs and goals.

3 senior men doing Pilates Reformer arm exercises

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a system designed to help you strengthen and mobilize your body. There are a variety of exercises that target strength and mobility for the whole body, always initiating with the core. They can be done on a mat or Pilates equipment strategically designed to allow for the fullest expression of movement. Some pieces of equipment you would likely find in a Pilates session include the Reformer, Cadillac, chair, and barrel.


What is mat Pilates?

Mat Pilates exercises require you to stabilize your body without equipment and tend to focus more on core work. You can practice the original 34 Pilates exercises in this classic Pilates mat sequence

Interested in learning more? Try online mat Pilates classes with a 14-day trial of our livestream classes!

What is reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates is done on a rolling platform with springs that add resistance to your Pilates workout. Springs can be added or taken away to provide different levels of resistance as the platform, called the “carriage,” is pushed or pulled along the frame. 

Working on the Pilates reformer allows for more dynamic movement that can train many parts of the body in different ways. Reformer parts can also be adjusted to your body size and level of skill, so it’s a great option for beginners!

Want to give Reformer Pilates a try? If you live in the Ann Arbor area, you can take a small group Reformer Pilates class at our studio. These classes are limited to six students for more personalized attention.

What are the benefits of doing Pilates exercises?

Pilates can help strengthen the body and improve stability and peripheral mobility. These improved fitness levels can help prevent injury and give you greater ease of movement through a full range.

This system can also relieve low back pain and the postural effects of sitting. It is a safe weight-bearing exercise that can mitigate symptoms of osteoporosis/osteopenia, and there is mounting research that Pilates supports a number of pathologies, postural issues, and is an effective method for whole body strengthening.

Whatever your conditioning goal, Pilates is an efficient, effective, and safe way to increase your flexibility, develop your core, and release tension.

Two Senior Women Doing Pilates With Trainer

Which is better, Pilates or yoga?

Pilates and yoga both have benefits for those who practice it, regardless of age or experience level. The practice that works best for you will depend on your individual fitness goals. The benefits of yoga, for example, include stress reduction, increased blood circulation, flexibility, strength, improved sleep patterns and relaxation.

Beginning a Pilates practice

Starting a new movement system can feel intimidating. At MOVE Wellness, we take the time to learn about you 一 including your current fitness level, goals, and any limitations or injuries you may have 一 so we can support you on your personal fitness journey. We can then make recommendations about which classes or private trainers would work best for your unique situation.

For example, our livestream and in-studio Pilates classes are organized into six levels to help our clients move confidently and comfortably through their personal fitness journey: Gentle, Intro, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Advanced. Most of our clients start with beginner Pilates classes so they can learn the foundational principles, which are designed to layer and build on each other as the student progresses.

2 women doing online fitness classes on a mat in their living room

You also have the option of private sessions, where you work one on one with a trainer who will create a custom workout to help you achieve your goals and provide support, motivation, and accountability. These are available both virtually and in-person.

Regardless of whether you’re alone or in a group, you will be led by a member of our experienced team. We’re proud to have some of the most experienced movement trainers, fitness instructors and coaches in Ann Arbor, who will work with you to bring out the very best in your body. Our trainers are credentialed in their areas of expertise and will even work in partnership with other health experts in your life, including doctors and physical therapists, to ensure your workouts are safe and highly effective.

Ready to get started? Our introductory session includes an intake assessment, 50-minute private session, and customized movement recommendation plan, as well as a 14 day trial of our livestream classes. Clients who would prefer a small-group class are invited to try an introductory class.

MOVE Trainer Mary Falcon teaching a livestream Pilates class

Pilates classes near you

The MOVE Wellness fitness studio is conveniently located on Jackson Road near I-94 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

We also offer a number of online options for clients who don’t live nearby or who prefer to workout at home. These include:

  • Private training — available in-studio or virtually via Zoom.
  • Small-group classes — our Pilates Essentials Class ($29) is a fun, safe space to try something new. 
  • Livestream classes — over 30+ professional studio classes, including Pilates, yoga, barre, and more. This gives you a variety of fresh content each session to stave off boredom, and the motivating energy of live instruction to keep you moving.
  • MOVE On Demand — pre-recorded class content, no television provider needed. Access your content whenever you want.
  • MOVE Wellness on YouTube — a wide variety of free workouts on Pilates, yoga, and special topics like mobility.


Start Your Pilates Practice