Why Pilates is the perfect exercise for postmenopausal women – and how to get started

Pilates is great for building strength and especially beneficial for post-menopausal women

Woman performs Pilates on a yoga mat
(Image credit: Getty)

When women go through menopause, they often experience a natural decline in estrogen. This can lead to higher levels of visceral fat mass and decreased bone mass density, muscle mass, and strength. Combating all of this is easier said than done but Pilates is one type of exercise that has been proven to increase muscular strength among postmenopausal women. 

Every woman will experience different symptoms to varying levels and many seek out relief for their symptoms by taking one of the best menopause supplements, while others undergo Hormone Replacement Treatment to help reduce things like hot flushes and mood swings. 

But many women entering the post-menopause stage may want to know how they can rebuild strength and muscle after noticing some very natural bodily changes that result from menopause. Exercise is a really useful place to begin and Pilates is a beginner-friendly activity to take up from the comfort of your home.

This research paper published in the journal Age revealed that a group of postmenopausal women successfully increased their abdominal, upper, and lower muscular strength after completing two Pilates sessions a week for twelve weeks.

Woman performs Pilates workout at home

(Image credit: Getty)

The researchers recruited a group of twenty-five women for the study who had all been through menopause and were aged between 59 and 66 years old. They all underwent a Pilates exercise intervention which saw them complete two sixty-minute sessions of Pilates a week for twelve weeks.

Each session consisted of a ten-minute warmup of low-intensity activities as well as breathing and joint mobility exercises. The main part of the session lasted 40 minutes and included a mixture of Pilates-based moves such as single-leg kicks, side-lying hip abductions, and pelvic curls. This was followed by a 10-minute cool-down of stretching exercises.

The great thing about Pilates is that it is an accessible activity that people of all fitness levels, beginners or advanced, can try out. It is worthwhile getting one of the best yoga mats from our roundup, as this will help support your back during Pilates.

Pilates relies on solid core strength, which you can build up with some of the best workouts for abs or you can even try to include one of the best ab rollers to your future core workouts.

If you are keen to try some Pilates and not ready to attend an in-person class but still want to learn, then why not give this 20-minute beginner-friendly Pilates session a shot. Wellness Coach Isa Welly will guide you through each exercise in the video below.

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.