I often recommend Pilates to help women build strength, flexibility, balance, alignment and reaction time—all of which help prevent and control osteoporosis and avoid needless fractures. And just a quick glance at the medical literature shows how important the benefits of Pilates can be!
But that said, I’m often asked if Pilates is safe for those with osteoporosis. This is an important question because many classic Pilates movements involve spinal flexion (bending forward) which is not suited for those with weak spinal vertebrae. But this need not stop anyone from enjoying Pilates now that there exists what I call “osteo-modified Pilates,” such as the “Bone Smart Pilates” program by physical therapist Teresa Maldonado Marchok.
Below is a video chat with Teresa that includes her modified “hinge from the hip movement” which avoids the dangers of classic forward bends. You might want to take a few minutes to check out Teresa’s tips for making tips for making Pilates “bone smart”.
Babayigit, GI, et al., Integrating Pilates exercise into an exercise program for 65+ year – old women to reduce falls. J Sports Sci Med, 2011, March; 10(1):105-111
Bird, ML, J Fell. Positive long – term effects of Pilates exercise on age – related decline in balance and strength and older, community – dwelling men and women. J . Aging Phys Act. 2014, July 22(3):342-7.
Kucukcakir, N et al., Effects of Pilates exercises on pain, functional status and quality of life in women with osteoporosis. J Body Move Ther. 2013, Apr; 17 (2):204-11.