Journal of bodywork and movement therapies
April 2017 Volume 21, Issue 2, Pages 251–258
Recent scientific evidence supports the benefits of Pilates exercises on postural balance and muscle strength of older persons. However, their effects on other aspects of physical fitness, which are also important for independent living in older age, are still unknown.
To investigate the effects of a 12-week Pilates-inspired exercise program on the functional performance of community-dwelling older women.
Forty community-dwelling older women were randomly enrolled in a Pilates-inspired exercise training (2 times/week, 60 min/session) (PG, n = 21, 66.0 ± 1.4yrs) or kept in the control group (CG; n = 19, 63.3 ± 0.9yrs). The Pilates exercises were conducted in small groups and performed on mats (using accessories such as exercise rubber bands, swiss and exercise balls). The functional performance on one-leg stance (OLS), timed up and go (TUG), five-times-sit-to-stand (STS) and 6-min walk (6 MW) tests was evaluated before and after the 12-week Pilates training or control follow-up period.
After 12 weeks, time effects were observed for STS (p = 0.03) and 6 MW tests (p < 0.01). Only among PG subjects did the time spent to rise from a chair and return to a seated position decrease significantly (2.0 s faster, p = 0.02) and the distance walked in 6 min increase (∼30 m, p < 0.01). OLS and TUG performance remained unaltered in both groups.
Pilates-inspired exercises improved dynamic balance, lower-extremity strength and aerobic resistance in community-dwelling older women. Therefore, it may be a potentially effective exercise regimen to maintain physical fitness in old age