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Yoga vs. Pilates for Seniors — How to Choose?


Physical activity has been widely proven to have a lot of health benefits for older adults. But how do you know what type of exercises are best for your age group? And where should you start?  Two types of activities that have gained popularity in recent years are yoga and Pilates. But when it comes to Pilates vs. yoga for seniors, what are the differences? And are there different benefits of Pilates for seniors over yoga? This blog post will discuss the benefits of each so you can make up your own mind.   

What Is Yoga?

The practice of yoga started approximately 3,000 years ago in ancient India as a holistic discipline to unite mind, body and spirit focused on the five beliefs of:

  • Proper relaxation
  • Exercise
  • Breathing
  • Diet
  • Positive thinking and meditation

The focus and concentration required in some yoga postures combine physical activity and mindfulness to keep you very focused in the moment and quiet the distractions of the day. Yoga can also incorporate elements of philosophy, science, and an ethical way of living. In the millennia since it was first introduced, many different styles of yoga have developed, including vinyasa, hatha, ashtanga, bikram and restorative yoga. It can be recommended for increasing strength and improving flexibility through your muscles and joints and has been shown to have positive benefits, including:

  • Improved balance, strength and flexibility
  • Back pain relief
  • Easing of arthritis symptoms
  • Improved heart health
  • Boosting energy and brightening mood
  • Managing stress

What Is Pilates?

Pilates is a specific physical system devised by German anatomist Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. It uses very specific targeted exercises to improve strength, flexibility and posture, with particular focus on increasing your core strength. Pilates is a practice that requires small movements focusing on various areas of the body and must be done regularly to provide benefit. Practicing Pilates exercises may:

  • Boost muscle strength and endurance
  • Increase flexibility
  • Improve balance and posture
  • Result in decreased joint pain

Pilates can be done on a mat or using specialized equipment of springs, levers, and your own body weight to provide resistance.

Yoga and Pilates Similarities.

When it comes to choosing between Pilates vs. yoga for seniors, they can actually work together. Strengthening your core in your Pilates classes will give you better balance in yoga. And increasing your flexibility in your yoga classes will allow you to move bigger and deeper in Pilates.  Yoga and Pilates also have these things in common:

  • Mat Pilates, like yoga, can be done with little equipment. However, as stated above, there are types of Pilates that require specialized equipment. 
  • They focus on using the breath properly during exercise and emphasize breathing deep into the belly. These breathing techniques can help to combat feelings of stress and anxiety.
  • Both require mental focus and can help reduce stress. 
  • Each can also be tailored to different fitness levels.
  • Both can increase your range of motion and functional movement.
  • Each engages your core muscles for better control and stability, which can help reduce the risk of falling.

Enjoy the Luxury of Living Life on Your Own Terms.

At Ventana by Buckner, you don’t have to choose between Pilates vs. yoga for seniors. We have yoga and Pilates instructors who host classes every week as part of our Member programs. We’ve also partnered with Cooper Aerobics to offer you VentanaFIT, our senior wellness program that combines the latest research in the exercise science industry with proven techniques to help you live the healthiest lifestyle you can. To learn more about our health and wellness programs in Dallas, TX, contact us here