Everyone knows that getting regular physical exercise is one of the most important ingredients for good overall health. This is true at any age, but it is even more important for seniors who may become less active. Health care professionals assert that any kind of physical activity is great, including Pilates.

Pilates is a form of exercise like Yoga that focuses on a mind and body connection. But, unlike Yoga, Pilates puts an added emphasis on toning and strengthening the muscles, especially those in the core. Performing Pilates can help you improve your posture, balance, and flexibility, which are very important elements for a healthy life after retirement age.

 The Benefits of Pilates
Pilates-style exercises work to help lengthen and stretch all of your major muscle groups in a gentle, balanced manner. Practicing Pilates also helps control breathing and boosts mind-body concentration. Pilates is strengthening and relaxing rather than strenuous and aggressive. It is a great style of exercise for everyone from highly trained athletes to people with limited mobility or low fitness levels.

People who practice Pilates routinely, find that they have subtle changes to their body, mind, and general health. Some of the benefits include the following:

• Increased flexibility
• Greater muscle tone and strength, especially in the core region
• Better muscle control in the back and legs
• Improvement in posture and spine stability
• Improvement in coordination and balance
• Shoulders, neck, and back muscles become more relaxed
• Better lung capacity and blood circulation
• Improvements in concentration levels
• Feeling less stressed and more relaxed

Do Medicare Benefits Cover the Cost of Pilates?
Your Original Medicare benefits, Parts A or B, do not include coverage for fitness and exercise programs or for gym memberships. However, if you have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, or Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy, your private insurance company may cover exercise or fitness programs like Pilates or gym memberships that offer programs like Pilates.

Medicare Advantage policies are obliged by law to offer the same coverage that Original Medicare Parts A and B do. Most of these private policies also provide additional benefits such as fitness programs. But, because these benefits are not mandatory for Part C plans to include, you should do your research when looking for a Part C plan that does have coverage for exercise programs.

With Original Medicare you may have coverage for Pilates exercises when they are used as part of medically necessary occupational or physical therapy sessions. Your therapist may incorporate Pilates exercises in your rehabilitation workout. Medicare Part B benefits pay 80 percent of the Medicare-approved cost of occupational and physical therapies. You are responsible for 20 percent of the final cost as well as your Part B deductible of $185.00 (as of 2019).

How Much Do Pilates Classes Cost?
The cost of Pilates classes varies widely across the United States. In larger cities, the cost is usually higher than in rural areas. For optimum fitness results, professional Pilates instructors suggest that you do Pilates three times per week for about 30 minutes per session. On average, a 30-minute session for a class runs about $30.00.

Even if you do not have Medicare coverage for Pilates classes, the amazing health benefits this type of exercise gives you may be worth spending the money for. Or, you can find a Medicare Advantage, or Medigap plan that gives you that extra coverage. If you already have a Medicare Advantage plan but are not sure if it includes coverage for Pilates, call your provider and an agent can help you with that information.

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