Due to increased life expectancy, the post-retirement phase of individuals can extend over two or even three decades. As individuals become older, psychological well-being and the meaning of life may decrease as it becomes increasingly difficult to remain optimistic in the face of age-related challenges.
Joseph Hubertus Pilates, the founder of the Pilates method, articulated that Pilates developed the body, mind and spirit uniformly. Joseph Pilates intended for his physical system to be a type of mindfulness movement that would integrate into everyday living. He expounded on the positive impact of Pilates on the physical and mental well-being of individuals.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine whether the Pilates method has an impact on the mental well-being of older women. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 females (Mean = 69.8 ± 3.6 years of age) who regularly attend Pilates classes. Data was analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Analysis revealed that an enhanced sense of body awareness and improvement in posture increased self-confidence. Improved flexibility, strength and balance fostered a sense of empowerment in older women. The Pilates principle of breath promoted a sense of calmness which improved sleep. Older women derived a sense of fulfilment and authenticity from Pilates. A state of engagement in the activity and social relationships proved highly significant as sources of well-being. Tutor communication was identified as an important factor in creating a positive and empowering environment.
To summarize, the Pilates method has a positive impact on the mental well-being of older women. The findings could be of personal benefit to older women, organizers of Pilates classes, Pilates associations, and tutors of the Pilates method.
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Halford, Ruby. (2019). Older Women’s Perceptions of the Impact of Pilates on Mental Well-being: An Interpretative Phenomenological Approach (Masters’ theses). Retrieved https://researchonline.trinitylaban.ac.uk/oa/thesis/?p=1244
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