Working with the elderly – with Pilates
Q:I wish to find out more about your Pilates beginners course “Pilates classes for the Older Client”. Why have you decided to do this?
Tanja: I love teaching, instructing as well as taking part in a small group class. When I first started out, I loved larger classes for the vibe and energy. Its strange how you change and mature. I now prefer small more intimate group classes. The older more mature client can be challenging due to pathologies/issues they tend to have.So creating a beginners course specifically aimed for this population – ‘mature client’ added a new option for these older people.
It is also so much more affordable than doing 1-2-1 private sessions. Which for most people a lit bit more expensive. Quite often this age group are retired and like a lot of other people are living on a budget.
The fact that it is taught as a group class, means that it is so much more social. A positive social interaction is so much more beneficial for emotional wellbeing. Especially so for this age group.
This age group does come with its challenges though. Most have some health condition and other medical issues not to mention menopausal, whether peri- or pre menopause (for a thorough more educated take on the menopause take a look, ate what the NHS has to say here ). But my classes are safe, appropriate and meets all the clients needs for this age group. Pilates classes for the older client I find fun. They have so many anecdotes and funny stories to tell. Usually they tell them whilst trying out challenging moves! I think they find it rewardingly distracting.
I instruct yoga and pilates group classes almost every day. My clients are of all ages, sexes (well there is basically only two – sort of) with various medical challenges. I wanted to focus on Mat work and the needs and restrictions of the more mature clients. Whilst I occasionally instruct on the reformer I do feel so much more at home instructing on the mat. I think I prefer the small intimate group rather than 1-2-2.
I don’t just instruct like a typical Leisure centre style – giving people a list of ‘safe’ exercises. I want people to ask why? Why am I dong this and what benefit is it to me. I want people to have a thorough understanding of perhaps which exercises / movements they are best avoiding –depending upon their individual conditions and needs (and wants). I want them to have a repertoire of safe Pilates exercises yet still challenge them with a varying routine.
Tanja: Oh crumbs of course I do. I modify it for a lot of my clients whose’ needs are all different. But yes especially for special population groups, and yes for my more mature clients.
Q. What is it like and what are the difficulties with mature Vs younger clients?
Tanja: Actually if I were to be honest there are more bonuses than challenges per se. The more mature as a general rule tend to be: on time and more committed and dedicated. They tend to listen and take on board your instructions, especially the very important – Why are we doing this movement, and why are we performing it, this particular way!
The greatest challenge is however, having a large class (which I tend not to favour, I do try keep the classes small, for more individual attention) and almost everyone in the class has ‘different’ conditions and needs. It doesn’t always happen but I have had a few like that. Trying to modify every person in the class and explain to each one is a challenge. I must address each condition offer a variety quickly and try to keep the flow of the class going. And make sure that everyone is enjoying the experience.
Q: What, do you think you impart to these clients?
Tanja: Stay and keep as active as your condition – if you happen to have one- will allow. We are built, evolved, designed to be mobile and on the go. Stay active for as long as you age.
I want people to want to challenge their bodies as they age, safely and enable them to age with a good quality of life.
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Lots of Love from Devon
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