INFLUENCE OF PILATES METHOD TRAINING ON THE BALANCE OF ELDERLY
Kristina Zaičenkovienė, Renata Rakovaitė, Vida Janina Česnaitienė Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas
Relevance of the research. Falling is one of the most important problems in the elderlyʼs mobility disorder, which is most often affected by the loss of balance and postural instability (Johansson et al., 2017). Postural control is a crucial factor in maintaining balance during standing, walking, and task performance in everyday life (Westcott et al., 1997). It is known that Pilates exercises could help to increase the deep muscles strength, to improve posture and proprioception, which affects the improvement of the balance (Cruz-Diaz et al., 2015). The object of the research was the influence of Pilates method on the balance of elderly and the aim was to evaluate the effect of six weeks of Pilates exercises on the elderlyʼs static and dynamic balance.
Research methods and organization. The study population consisted of 20 volunteers – men and women. They were divided into those involved in Pilates exercises (n = 10, age 65.1 ± 2.6) and control (n = 10, age 68.6 ± 4.9) groups. The study group participated in Pilates classes 2 times per week for six weeks (session duration 60 minutes). The control group did not participated in any physical activity, but they were physically active as usual in their daily life. Main outcome measures were assessed before and after the intervention. The static balance was assessed by measuring posturographic parameters using the force platform (Kistler Bioware, Kristal Systems Inc. 1996–1998) and dynamic balance – with the Timed up and Go Test (TUG) and the Four Square Step Test (FSST).
Results and discussion. The results showed significant improvement of the experimental group static balance after the Pilates exercises during standing tests when the feet were apart with eyes opened (before Pilates 15.44 ± 4.45 mm/s, after 13.06 ± 1.34 mm/s (p = .01)) and eyes closed (before Pilates 16.63 ± 3.14; after 14.62 ± 1.24 mm/s (p = .03) with feet together with eyes opened (before Pilates 18.21 ± 3.71; after 16.92 ± 2.17 mm/s, p = .04)) and standing on one foot in front of the other foot with closed eyes (before Pilates 48.81 ± 11.58; after 40.39 ± 7.02 mm/s (p = .04)). The static balance tests results of both groups did not differ before and after the study, but after Pilates exercises, the study group showed significantly better balance (13.06 ± 1.34 mm/s) than control group (16.34 ± 1.64 mm/s) (p = .00)) in the test when the feet were in shoulder line with opened eyes. The results of the dynamic balance after the Pilates exercises significantly improved in both tests in the study group (TUG test: before Pilates 5.53 ± 0.49 mm/s, after 5.24 ± 0.42 mm/s (p = .02); FSST test: before Pilates 9.01 ± 1.91 mm/s, after 7.88 ± 1.46 mm/s (p = .01)). Before the study, there were no statistically differences in the dynamic balance results between groups, but the study group showed significantly better results after the Pilates exercises.
Conclusion: Six-week Pilates exercises had a positive effect on the elderlyʼs static and dynamic balance.