Pilates exercises to avoid for women over 40

Woman on a Pilates tower, with one foot on the push through bar the other pointing to the ceiling.
Pilates Lennox Head

Written by Bridgid Pearse

March 2, 2024

Welcome to Move to Nurture Pilates, where I believe that movement and self-discovery should be a joyful journey, especially for the women in their 40s to 70s who grace my studio.

I get it; life’s aches and pains, like those pesky back twinges, hip discomfort, and knee or foot annoyances, can make the idea of moving more seem a bit daunting. But here’s the thing – my home studio in Goonellabah is all about rekindling a loving relationship with your body, in a way that feels safe, supportive, and even fun.

Pilates is a brilliant blend of strength, flexibility, and mindfulness. However, I’m all about keeping it real and making sure you’re moving in ways that love your body back. So, let’s chat about a few Pilates moves that might not be the best fit for everyone, especially for us fabulous over-40s (& 50’s), and share some sweet tweaks to keep you flowing safely and happily.

1. The “Maybe Not” Moves: Roll Over & Jackknife

These exercises are all about spinal mobility, moving your legs over your head. Great for some, but a bit much if your back says “nope” or your flexibility is playing hard to get. Easy Does It: Try a gentle Pilates bridge instead. Lift those hips to the sky with your feet planted. This will help you find the important connections to your core and hamstrings, without the risks of rolling with load into your spine.

2. Double Leg Stretch? Let’s Double Check

Here, you stretch out like a starfish, then curl up cozy. It’s a core party, but if your core strength is lacking, then your back and neck will overwork often leading to tightness and possible injury. Friendly Fix: Keep one foot on the ground, extend the other, and switch it up. You’re still mingling at the core party, just with a little more support.

3. Teaser: The Party Trick

Ah, the teaser, Pilates’ own party trick. But again, if your core connection is hesitant and your back is getting grumpy,  we listen. Modification Magic: Keep one leg bent or both feet flat on the ground as you sit up. Think of it as the teaser’s charming cousin, inviting everyone to the party.

4. High-Flying Moves? Maybe Next Time

Balancing acts and high-flying stunts on the reformer can feel like you’re walking a tightrope without a net, especially if balance or pain issues are in the mix. Grounded Goodness: Stick with the reformer’s supportive embrace for stability or opt for seated and lying down exercises. You’ll still get the benefits of the exercises, just without the risks of pulled muscles and hairline fractures.

5. Twisty Business: Deep Twists

These can turn you into a human pretzel, aiming for that oh-so-good spinal flexibility. But if your back is whispering, “Let’s not get twisted,” it’s best to keep things straightforward. Gentle Turn: Sit tall and twist lightly, like you’re checking out a friend calling your name. It’s all the twist without the tangle.

Friendly Reminders for a Happy Pilates Journey

  • Your Body, Your Guide: If it feels ouchy, let’s not. There’s always another way to move that feels good.
  • Expert Buddies:  I am here to tailor your Pilates adventure, making sure it fits you like a glove, responding to how you feel when you come in.
  • Form is Your Friend: It’s not about doing the most; it’s about doing it in a way that feels good and right for you.
  • Warm-Up and Cool Down: Think of it as the hello and goodbye hug for your muscles. Always a must.

Here at Move to Nurture Pilates, we’re all about celebrating where you’re at and helping you move in ways that bring you joy and strength, without the side order of pain. It’s not just about Pilates; it’s about finding movement that nurtures and uplifts you, at every age and stage.

So, let’s keep it light, keep it safe, and most importantly, keep it fun. Because moving your body should always bring a smile to your face and a spring to your step. Here’s to moving, nurturing, and thriving together, in our fabulous 40s and beyond! 

Pilates Goonellabah

Thanks for reading!

I am Brigid Pearse, comprehensively certified Pilates teacher, ex-dancer, and mid-life mum. In group classes, workshops and private sessions I help women learn to move well for life.

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