The present meta-analysis aimed to examine evidence from randomized controlled trials in order to determine the effects of mat Pilates on measures of physical functional performance in the elderly.
A search was conducted in the MEDLINE/PubMed, Scopus, Scielo and PEDro databases between February and March 2017. Only RCTs that were written in English; included subjects 60 years-old; utilized mat Pilates exercises; included a comparison (control) group; and reported performance-based measures of physical function (balance, flexibility, muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness) were included. The methodological quality of the studies was analyzed according to the PEDro scale and the best-evidence synthesis. The meta-analysis was conducted with the Review Manager 5.3 software.
The search retrieved 518 articles, nine of which fulfilled the inclusion criteria. High methodological quality was found in five of these studies. Meta-analysis indicated a large effect of mat Pilates on dynamic balance (SMD=1.10, 95%CI=0.29-1.90), muscle strength (SMD=1.13, 95%CI=0.30-1.96), flexibility (SMD=1.22, 95%CI=0.39-2.04) and cardiorespiratory fitness (SMD=1.48, 95%CI=0.42-2.54) of elderly subjects.
There is evidence that mat Pilates improves dynamic balance, lower limb strength, hip and lower back flexibility and cardiovascular endurance in elderly individuals. Further high-quality studies are necessary to clarify the effects of mat Pilates on other physical functional measurements among older adults.