Once in ballet pointe shoes, now pointing her Pilates clients in the right direction, Caroline Gray can be found at her studio ‘Deedy’ in Parnell, Auckland. With clients ranging from just 15 years old to some in their late 80s, she knows what works for everyone when it comes to the increasingly popular exercise that is Pilates.

Pilates initially helped Caroline stay strong and supple when she was a ballet dancer. She has practiced Pilates for over fifteen years and has taught for six of those.

For those considering taking up Pilates, you can rest assured that you don’t have to contort your body into weird shapes or feel uncomfortable. Caroline herself is very particular about only prescribing the most beneficial exercises to her clients, especially those more senior.

She says that the top three benefits of Pilates for those in their senior years are “improved balance, mobility, and strength, which leads to increased confidence in daily life.”

Doing Pilates can be a good way to rehabilitate from surgical procedures like a hip replacement or knee surgery.

“Pilates is safe and gentle, I’m often working in conjunction with Doctors, Physiotherapists and other Physical Therapists to ensure the exercise program reflects the goals of my clients,” says Caroline.

“Pilates doesn’t discriminate – old, young, flexible, stiff, injured, exhausted, pregnant, even elite athletes – we can all benefit from low intensity, healthy movement training that improves our quality of life, health and mindset,” she says.

When asked what she enjoys most about being a Pilates instructor, Caroline says “The people; being part of their exciting lives is such a pleasure and inspiration. Also, making a difference. I can see a noticeable difference in my clients before and after their class. I feel content when my clients walk out looking taller, more relaxed and energised to take on the rest of their day!”

For those unsure about which type of Pilates might suit them best, there are three options that Caroline offers at Deedy studio.

Clinical and Studio Pilates, which uses specialised equipment. Generally private or small group sessions. This is the most personalised kind where you can see the greatest improvement (a good place for new clients to start).

Pilates Mat, which is predominantly floor based conditioning and stretches, it is excellent to learn and then practice at home to keep up progress. Roughly half of the Pilates Mat repertoire is of value to elderly clients.

Reformer Pilates is a group class, everyone practices the same exercise on a Pilates reformer machine, a great class to do with friends, for stronger, more experienced movers.

Caroline’s top tips for those moving into their senior years are:

1.       Keep moving, something simple can be very effective if you keep at it.

2.       Choose JOY – if you decide to engage in activities that are fun and interesting to you, you’ll want to do them, which will lift your mood and body all at once.

3.       Trust yourself! You know your body inside out, you will also know deep down when something is helping you in a positive way with your health and your body.

If you would like to chat with Caroline about how Pilates could work for you or someone you know, feel free to send her an email at hello@deedy.co.nz or visit the Deedy Studio website here.