Osteoporosis International Journal has written a guide for health professional working in rehabilitation for patients with Osteoporosis. The techniques described are basically Pilates showing how spot on the Pilates technique really is.
There’s a summary of the journal advice here…http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/health/28backsb.html?_r=2&ref=todayspaper
It talks about avoiding stomach crunches/sit ups done in the way typically seen in gyms and other fitness classes, lots of repetitions, done at full speed where the back is jerked up off the floor putting pressure on the lower spine. The internal organs are pushed aside and the stomach compacted. Doing lots of repetitions means good technique is lost and the head is often pulled up by the arms. It is of course possible to do a good sit up but its not often seen in a gym/large class environment, in fact as an ex gym-bunny myself I can truly say I used to do sit ups all wrong! In Pilates a curl up would be done in a much slower, controlled way, lengthening the spine, peeling up off the mat bone by bone and replacing the same way. Only a few reps would be done as we look for quality and not quantity.
Other tips talk about maintaining good core strength when picking up objects and moving the body and maintaining a good posture. Again Pilates will help with this. I know that I am now so aware of my posture and the way I move that I tend to auto correct myself at points in the day. So if I bend to pick up the baby moving from my waist I tell myself off and practise doing it moving from the hips instead. Over time it becomes a habit. My shoulders used to be hunched up by my ears and after a while of working on that I now keep them pulled down properly (most of the time!).
So…not only is Pilates good for toning and building that all important core strength but the Pilates lifestyle is recommended for bone health. Fab news.