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Chair Pilates Offers Alternative for Older Adults

As mind-body exercise goes mainstream, programs catering to people with special requirements are emerging to serve the needs of a diverse audience. Moira Merrithew, a leading Pilates educator and co-founder of STOTT PILATES, based in Toronto, Ontario, has successfully launched a Pilates for seniors program called “Armchair Pilates” exercise. According to Merrithew, the inspiration behind this Pilates for older adults program was the desire to provide her own mother with exercises that she could easily do at home.

“Armchair Pilates” incorporates Pilates principles but modifies the moves to make them more accessible to people who have balance and stability challenges or who need to take extra precautions to avoid joint strain. Since Pilates exercises enhance core conditioning and provide other strengthening and stretching benefits, these armchair variations are particularly helpful for older adults who want to improve posture and stability and to prevent aches and pains. The entire Pilates for older adults program is available on DVD.

Shirley Eichenberger-Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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