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.