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Why barre classes are great for mature bodies

Rosa Anderson - Jones
Why barre classes are great for mature bodies

People are often surprised at the hugely diverse age range that we cater for online with Barre Base Anywhere. Our online members range from 18-80 – and many of our most committed members are retired, with more time to finally focus on themselves!

As we mature, many begin to view exercise through a different lens. Exercise becomes more about FEELING good in our bodies: reducing the risk of injury, living pain-free, increasing bone density or enhancing our balance.

The reason Barre Base Anywhere is so well suited to a wide range of body types, abilities and ages, is that it’s designed to be kind on the joints. In fact, Barre workouts are one of the first forms of exercise that Physical Therapists recommend to their patients after discharging them from physical therapy or physiotherapy rehabilitation.

Kind on joints

As we age, the low impact characteristics of barre are often better suited for the joints than running, weight lifting or a HIIT class are. The small range of motion exercises that barre is known for also helps clients who may have a limited range of movement, along with easily adaptable modifications. And because we stand beside a ballet barre (or a chair for our at-home movers), clients can often move more confidently with a greater sense of stability.

The controlled, body-weight focused exercises within our classes increase muscle endurance and stability — reducing the pressure on your joints, tendons, ligaments and spine. Because of this, barre classes are suitable for all ages and stages and is ideal for those who're prone to injury.

Barre classes offer ‘Functional Training’

The term "use it or lose it” really rings true when it comes to our physical strength! Functional training is a type of exercise that looks like movements you make in your daily life - movements that are transferable to life outside of the studio.

As we age, our balance is often compromised, putting our older generation at risk of falls – or, not having the ability to catch themselves safely when an accident happens. Barre is a fantastic way to enhance stability and balance in safe and predictable environment. Some barre exercises are executed standing on one leg, allowing balance skills to be tested and strengthened, improving one’s stability (but fear not, the chair is always in reach for those wobbly days).

Improves body awareness and posture

Good posture and body awareness involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on your supporting muscles and ligaments during weight-bearing activities. These weight-bearing activities may include gardening, playing with your grandchildren or hanging up the washing. The benefits of having better body awareness and coordination truly extend into all elements of your everyday life.

Strengthens deep core

Your core is more than just those superficial '6-pack' muscles, and simple barre conditioning and bodyweight exercises can be used to engage all of them. Our classes have a huge focus on strengthening your deep core and pelvic floor muscles.

Learning to better connect with your deep core can improve posture, decrease back pain, give you more confidence with higher-intensity movements, and help improve any weaknesses or pelvic floor dysfunction that, for some, can heighten through menopause.

Barre keeps us sharp

Cognitive skills are also engaged throughout class with varying exercises, directions and intentions. Barre classes can improve muscular activation for frequently underused muscles by strengthening the neuromuscular (mind-body) connection. Paying attention to how your body is moving and activating can help you gain so much more out of your workout and beyond.

Improved mobility and flexibility

Barre training is a great way to enhance your flexibility and mobility while improving strength. Improved flexibility, and having a full range-of-motion, ensures that joints are moving freely, which can lead to improved posture and can reduce the chance of exercise-related injury.

If you’re feeling a little stiff and stuck, you will love the focus on mobility that barre classes offer.

Barre classes allow members to build strength in a safe way. Feeling strong in our bodies is hugely empowering, and learning to find gratitude for the strength we have. Barre classes allow you to grow stronger week to week – from your base level, not some else’s.

Exercises can always be modified for beginners or those with injuries — but can also be amplified if and when you are looking for a challenge! However, age can be irrelevant. Some of our fittest and most committed members are 65+!

Building the muscles that support bones and joints prevents muscular pain and decreases abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis. And more simply, when you stand up straight, you appear and feel more confident!

Where to start?

Regardless of age, we always recommend our newer subcribers to start with our Gentle Barre and Stretch & Lengthen series. Gentle Barre is particularly popular amongst our mature population, as it incorporates more stretching, and there are fewer repetitions than our standard Barre Base classes – which is great for tender knees and joints.

If you have any questions about our studio and if it would be the right fit for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at hello@barrebaseanywhere.co.nz.

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