Boost Your Fitness Routine with Barre

May 1, 2024

As the years go on, maintaining our physical health is an essential part of overall well-being. As we age, finding (and sticking with!) an exercise routine that is not only effective but also enjoyable can be a challenge. It’s enough to make us want to hang up our sneakers and head straight to the barre. No, not the one with the stools, drinks, and salty snacks! This barre – a decidedly more health-conscious version – offers a gentle and approachable way to build strength and flexibility while boosting your mood. Curious? With National Fitness Day coming up on May 4th, we can’t think of a better time to learn about the benefits of barre.  

Ballet Beginnings

Originally developed in the early sixties by dancer Lotte Berk, barre combines elements of ballet, Pilates, and yoga into a low-impact workout with a focus on the idea of building “core stability.” Borrowing its name from the stationary ballet barre used throughout the class, the method aims to create strength and flexibility through targeted small movements across multiple muscle groups. The result? Increased muscle tone and core strength while also helping to improve balance and posture.     

Always Accessible 

Among the plethora of fitness options available, barre stands out as a top choice for older adults by improving stability and balance. As we age, balance tends to decline, increasing our risk for falls and therefore, injuries. Barre, which challenges balance through small movements, helps to develop better stability and reduce the risk of falls. It also enhances confidence in the everyday activities that make life better. Channeling the incredible strength and poise of a ballet dancer, barre movements also create better posture and spinal alignment, while at the same time alleviating common issues like back pain and stiffness. 

What’s more, many exercises can be modified for individuals with varying levels of strength and flexibility. By using props and resistance bands to make the workout accessible for those with limitations, this welcoming approach ensures that participants across all fitness levels can benefit from the incredible benefits of barre.

Mood Boosting Meditation

Beyond the myriad physical benefits, taking up barre can have a positive impact on your mood. In fact, engaging in regular exercise of any kind has been shown to improve mood by releasing endorphins, brain chemicals that are responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being. Who doesn’t love feeling happy? Paired with the focus and breathing required throughout class, this positive, calming energy mimics a meditation, promoting relaxation and even reducing stress levels. Did you know that cognitive decline is almost twice as common among adults who are inactive compared to those who are active? Research shows us that physical activity can boost brain health by invigorating neural pathways and promoting neuroplasticity, two ways the brain taps into cognitive function and helps memory.

Finally, participating in group barre classes is a great way to connect with the community, make new friends (while limiting social isolation!) and have fun!

Get a Grip

Barre offers so many benefits – from physical conditioning to emotional well-being. By improving balance and strength to enhancing mood, regular participation in barre workouts can significantly enhance quality of life, allowing older adults to age gracefully. All you need are a pair of grippy socks (athletic socks with a sticky tread), comfortable stretchy clothing, and an open mind. We’ll see you at the barre!