Discovering Pilates for Arthritis and Osteoporosis

by Julie
(Burnaby, BC Canada)

Woman with Osteoporosis doing Pilates

Woman with Osteoporosis doing Pilates

I have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis.

I have taken advil (went away from it and came back to it)to relieve me of the pain and inflammation in my knees.

I resorted to other nsaids but only got more side effects than good effects. A friend advised me to take glucosamine which I have been taking for almost 2 years now.

I have resorted to reading articles on the internet to find ways to relieve myself from inflammation and stiffness and pain. Mostly to eliminate too much dependence on nsaids.

I read about lifting weights and I bought a 2lb weight for each hand. However, I did not know the proper way of lifting and I caused myself extreme pain in both shoulders.

Doing housework was a struggle because of the pain. My son was doing hot yoga at the time. So I started thinking about normal yoga and decided to join a yoga class in Vancouver once a week.

I informed the instructor that I have arthritis. It was painful for some of the poses and she could see how hard it was for me to get up from sitting to standing position. The repetitions of poses eased the pain in the knees but the shoulders remained a problem although she gave me some arm exercises to help me.

Two visits w/ a physiotherapist did not help much. I figured I will just continue pulling of cord exercises that the physiotherapist taught me and continue the yoga. I started June of 2012 and went from therapy yoga to restorative (hatha) yoga.

The 1st instructor did not bother to notify me of her next fall classes. I think she feared the liability as she made me sign a form releasing her of any liability towards the end of the yoga summer class with her. Slowly my body improved and felt more agility and relief, I was taking less advil.

I came to know about Pilates but was not sure whether I can handle it, but know that I need to have my core muscles strengthened. I had about 8 sessions in Pilates then my blood pressure started going up.

I went on the internet to find out if Pilates is bad for high blood. On the contrary, Pilates lowers blood pressure however, it said do not let your head down lower than your heart. I avoided doing this poses. Even consulted the Pilates instructor but she could not tell me much.

I just decided on my own to avoid the positions that make me dizzy. So I did the last 2 sessions and now I am looking to do another yoga or Pilates. I find that Pilates makes me more agile and fast and my body seemed to have stretched accordingly that I am more attracted to doing it than yoga.

However, in the back of my mind I am thinking of my high blood pressure which up to now I do not know what causes it as I watch my sodium intake as well as what I eat. The doctor can only come up with "age" as the cause.

I am here to try doing Yoga/Pilates with you and as I read the testimonials from older people of my age, I agree with them that this can benefit all of us as I already have proven to myself in the past.

I am looking forward to meeting you and be doing the appropriate poses for people like me who has this health problem. I went into your website and got this section where I can happily tell my story and what benefits yoga and Pilates gave me.


Hello Julie and thank you for sharing your story.

The benefits of
Yoga and Pilates
are both proven in older adults. They both have benefits of strength, flexibility, improved balance and just well being. So, really it is whatever is your preference.

I personally, like the flowing and core focused movements of Pilates and it just works better for me.

I have many clients with both Osteoporosis, Arthritis, and High Blood Pressure and they do well with the spring tension on the machines for strength and flexibility, and the low impact nature of the exercises on the joints.

For those with high blood pressure I keep their heads elevated a bit with a pillow, and we never do standing roll downs or such that the head drops below their heart.

Keep up the good work and investigation.

Best, Jennifer

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