Ideas for teaching your older clients virtually

pilates for older clients

Ideas for Teaching Your Senior Clients Virtually

Sonjé Mayo at 75

With a worldwide Pandemic going on, this is an important time to keep our most vulnerable clients active in their Pilates practice. Pilates builds coordination, foot and ankle mobility, hand and grip strength, and maybe most importantly strength in the respiratory muscles, all of which serve seniors well. For people in quarantine, lessons with your smiling face bring the additional benefits of neuro physical stimulation and social stimulation for the mind and spirit.

Older clients may not be able to return to the studio when we do, so chances are you will be teaching them virtually for months. That means you need new tricks!

Romana did the inversions all the way through her 80s (!) and thankfully, some of our senior clients are very able bodied – especially those who have been practicing for years. Those clients are no particular challenge to teach virtually – but these videos will give you ideas for both your strong seniors and your more fragile clients.

These exercises will also be helpful for students who have survived Covid 19 and will need to go back to the start and strengthen legs, seat, core, and respiratory muscles.

Pilates for Seniors who can’t get to the floor
Want pointers for your students who find it difficult to get on the floor? Our Pre-Pilates classes are full of exercises you can teach your homebound older clients: Pre-Pilates Classes

Our new Pilates in a Chair series with Alisa Wyatt is designed to help rebuild core strength, balance, and endurance. Hot tip- these videos will give you ideas for homework for any student and are great for people who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk or traveling: Pilates in a Chair with Alisa Wyatt

More exercises done seated in a sturdy chair on a non-slip surface:

Sitting Pre- Pilates with Molly Niles Renshaw
Improve Your Foundation with Tiziana Trovati (use broccoli bands in place of toe corrector at home)
Castenets and Bean Bag with Tiziana Trovati (use a dowel or broom handle in place of the ban bag apparatus)
Seated Pre-Pilates with Tiziana Trovati
Pre-Pilates and the TV exercises with Simona Cipriani
Pilates for Seniors in a Chair with Simona Cipriani
Pilates Eye Exercises with Jay Grimes

Standing Pilates 

These videos are great for your clients who are ready to progress to standing but not quite ready to get on the mat. Use water bottles or cans for the hand weights at home:

• Stand up Mat with Clare Dunphy Hemani
• Long Lean Arms with Alisa Wyatt
• Wrist and Shoulder Fix with Lori Coleman-Brown
• The Wall Series with Sandy Shimoda

Improving Balance for Seniors

Here are videos with tips for teaching balance skills.  You might want to set up your client near a threshold or piece of heavy furniture for some of these standing exercises.  You can use a deflated ball in place of a magic circle:

• Magic Circle for Balance with Alisa Wyatt
• Feet Good Feet with Niedra Gabriel

Exercises for Strengthening Breathing Muscles

During this time of pandemic that targets the respiratory system, perhaps the most vital gift we can give our students is strengthening the muscles that support breath.

Joe Pilates said, “Breathing is the first act of life and the last, our very life depends on it.”

Breathing exercises are built into the system, plus good posture encourages full breath.  Joe Pilates made the breath-a-cizer and the ped-o-pull specifically to increase lung capacity. You can blow into your fist or use a pinwheel or a straw in place of a breath-a-cizer:

• Breath-a-cizer with Kathi Ross Nash
• Breath-a-cizer with Jay Grimes

Teaching Seniors with Parkinson’s, MS or neurological disease

Get great ideas and tips for your seniors with Parkinson’s or neurological disease in these:

Workout for Parkinson’s Disease with Sabina Formichella
• Pilates for Parkinson with Molly Niles Renshaw
• Working with Neurological Disease with Molly Niles Renshaw
• Case Study- Parkinson’s, Stenosis, Neuropathy with Sandy Shimoda Part I
Case Study- Parkinsons, Stenosis, Neuropathy with Sandy Shimoda Part II
• Pilates for Baby-boomers with Neurodegenerative Disease

Teaching Seniors with Osteoporosis

And finally, vital information for your students with osteoporosis:  (Osteoporosis videos)

Thank You

Pilates teachers are natural helpers. This is a perfect time to help your older people stay strong and your clients who have been ill to regain strength. You are a vital link in their recovery so take care of yourself as well.❤️

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Alisa Wyatt

Alisa Wyatt

From the Community

  1. Alisa Wyatt

    Alisa Wyatt

    Member since 2011

    HI Myriam! It’s important for you to do both for new students, so don’t feel that you shouldn’t demonstrate and then watch them to see that they’re doing it right. Many people are visual learners so finding a balance will be different for everyone :).

  2. Myriam.lopez


    Member since 2017

    Thank you Alisa.
    All of these resources will really come in handy once I start teaching my new Zoom class for seniors here in The Catskills, NY.
    Question: What do you think is the right balance between demostrating, and keeping clients safe with feedback and observation?
    (A lot of these people will be new to Pilates)

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