Melanie Byford-Young demonstrates Pilates exercises targeting asymmetrical movements and standing on the reformer. Progress these for improved balance and fall response.

Preventing Falls with Pilates: Strategies for Balance and Reflexes

Slips, trips, and falls are a pressing concern today. We understand that falls are devastating, being the leading cause of injuries and even death among seniors. Whether falling forward, backward, or to the side, each direction poses a unique risk of injury. Despite these risks, it’s crucial to train everyone to handle and manage the perturbation of their center of mass.

A slip occurs when falling backward, feet slipping out from under you, requiring quick adjustments to your center of mass. A trip, on the other hand, involves falling forward, with your center of mass shifting ahead of your feet, necessitating quick corrections to stabilize your feet and pelvis.

When we think about fall prevention, we already recognize that training the nervous system to confidently react and utilize rapid righting mechanisms is vital. This involves coordination between the vestibular system, eyes, brain stem, upper neck, legs, hips, and feet. Corrections must be quick, multiplanar, and reflexive, often mediated by the brain stem and upper neck. Pilates offers numerous options for managing foot mechanics, hip rotation, torso and shoulder strength, and integrating the vestibular system.

In a demonstration, Melanie Byford-Young showcases Pilates variations that focus on asymmetrical movements, forward and backward motion while standing on the Pilates reformer. These exercises can be progressed to create more challenge, enhancing the ability to respond quickly to slips, trips, and falls.

Want to learn more about how to help your client prevent slips, trips and falls?

April 5 – 7, 2024, Pacific Northwest Pilates Education’s highly anticipated IQ of Movement conference returns with a dynamic focus: “Pilates for an Active Aging Population.” Hosted by leading experts in the field, this year’s conference promises a deep dive into tailored workshops and sessions crafted to equip instructors with the tools and insights needed to guide and support vibrant older adults through Pilates.

This same weekend will see Melanie Byford-Young Education offering complementary content during The Synergy Series, further enriching and enhancing the exploration of this vital topic. Melanie will lead a workshop on the Science of Balance and Fall Prevention, a vital aspect of training for older adults.