Fitness

Encouraging Fitness Over 50

Melanie Ng is a Physiotherapist, a mum of 3 and a wife. Mel works with groups of beautiful women over the age of 50 who have recognized the benefits, importance and will of wanting to age healthily.

She believes that aging is a gift, not given to all nowadays and through her work wishes to help others achieve fitness and holistic well being in terms of relaxation and physical exercise.

I caught up with her and her lovely ladies at one of their classes to ask her a few questions ….

Mel, as a Physiotherapist, would you say that Pilates is the most effective way to stay in shape?

As a Physio, Pilates was a natural progression of my ways and means of helping people overcome body ailments. I truly did not believe in its benefits until I could see with my own eyes how my ladies improved in terms of movement, flexibility, strength and quality of life.

After a while I realized that the Pilates classes I run also provide a space which allows women to socialize and reinvent themselves. So many of these amazing humans have given their all to their families and very often once the kids are grown and living their own lives we as women need to redefine who we are.

Why, in your opinion, is it important to keep fit after 50?

Fitness is important at every stage of life. As parents, my husband and I make sure that the kids are actively involved in some form of physical activity on a daily basis. Our honeymoon involved cycling around the south of France, so exercise for me is the only way I know how to live my life. So reason follows that an active lifestyle is mandatory at whatever age you are at.

Furthermore, post menopausal women go through hormonal changes that cause bones to start wasting away and exercise has been proven to slow down and reverse the effect of osteoporosis. It is common knowledge that exercise helps prevent other chronic disease such as diabetes, chronic heart conditions and arthritis. If one is new to exercise after the age of 50, it is recommended that exercise should be monitored appropriately as otherwise it may cause more harm than good.

Is it ok to start Pilates later on in life?

Yes and my aim is to create a safe space where individuals within this age group, with no previous experience, can feel secure and confident to start exercising within their own natural limitations.

What are the top 5 benefits of practicing Pilates as a mature adult?

It improves posture and reverses stooping postures seen typically in Osetoporotic individuals.

It strengthens core muscles which improves chronic back pain that may come about from lifting too many grand kids.

Over 50 Pilates also targets balance and coordination.

It is a form of moderate cardiovascular fitness.

Stretching helps improve flexibility and reduces overall stiffness.

What is the atmosphere you try to create in your classes?

I emphasize a lot on breathing, since as a consequence of aging breathing tends to become shallow and slow. I always try and end classes with mental relaxation and positive thoughts. I think women in this age group have given a lot and it’s time that they reclaim who they are through mental and physical well being.

What has been your proudest moment as a teacher?

I was teaching a 92year old man who had an amputated below knee and he would religiously attend y my chair strength and balance class. He said that his life had improved dramatically since he started coming as a result of the shoulder stretches we used to do he as he could now scratch between his shoulders with much more ease and this had improved his life tremendously. It’s these little things that make all the difference.

What classes do you teach and where can people find you?

General Strength and Balance – based around chair exercises. These are ideal for those with fear of walking outside due to risk of falling but who still want to regain strength in their legs. (Sliema)
Water Classes – for those with painful limbs due to Arthritis or recovering from hip and knee replacements. (Sliema)
Pilates Classes – for those who are stiff in general and want to improve their posture , core stability and flexibility. (Sliema)

To get in touch with Melanie, call her on 79707174 or drop her an email on melmuscat@yahoo.co.uk

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