Pilates Research

September 14, 2011 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Pilates is a gentle, yet demanding, form of body conditioning that promotes flexibility, stamina and strength. Proponents claim that regular practice also supports a more positive mindset. Although it was originally conceived to assist recovery from injury, it has recently become the exercise of choice of many athletes, celebrities and fitness gurus. More importantly, its current popularity has spawned an important collection of scientific data suitable for medical review and scrutiny.

For the most part, the new batch of controlled trials demonstrate a broad array of health benefits including: a) an improvement in “functional capacity” in heart failure patients;      b) a greater sense of “life satisfaction”, “perception of appreciation by other people”, “perception of physical appearance” and other measures of self esteem in adult women; c) reductions in pain and various physical and psychological symptoms associated with ankylosing spondylitis (joint inflammation in the pelvis and spine) and fibromyalgia; d) recovery of endurance and mental health in patients previously treated for breast cancer and; e) the promotion of “personal autonomy, static balance and quality of life” in elderly women. However, it must be said that Pilates is not a cure-all.

A recent meta-analysis in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation reports that Pilates does not offer added benefits over standard care in those living with chronic low back pain. Still and all, the majority of research published during the past few years tends to support many of long held assertions made by Pilates aficionados. In the future, I hope that more investigations using different patient populations, such as men and younger volunteers who practice Pilates as a form of physical fitness, will emerge.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Pilates in Heart Failure Patients: A Randomized Controlled Pilot (link)

Study 2 – Effects of Pilates-Based Exercise on Life Satisfaction, Physical (link)

Study 3 – Effect of Pilates Training on People With Ankylosing Spondylitis (link)

Study 4 – Effect of Pilates Training on People With Fibromyalgia Syndrome … (link)

Study 5 – Effects of Pilates Exercises on Functional Capacity, Flexibility (link)

Study 6 – Pilates Method In Personal Autonomy, Static Balance and Quality … (link)

Study 7 – Comparing the Pilates Method With No Exercise or Lumbar (link)

Regular Pilates Practice May Promote Mindfulness

Source: J Am Coll Health. 2010 Mar-Apr;58(5):433-42. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Heart Health

27 Comments & Updates to “Pilates Research”

  1. Nina K. Says:

    Good morning, JP 🙂

    great article!!! I love Pilates very much, because this method is not so exhausting to my adrenals 😉 normal strength training always raises my cortisol levels, can’t sleep, feel stressed! But Pilates works wonders for me, my back and my belly and my mood ♥ As a physiotherapist, i can highly recommend that to everyone, especially to train the back, relieves pain from sitting to much in two lessons. LOVE IT! ♥

    Greetings ☺
    Nina K.

  2. Eric Says:

    Nice article. Got to know so much about physiotherapy.

  3. JP Says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Nina! 🙂

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Thank you, Eric.

    Be well!


  5. Sarah O Says:

    Since I’ve discovered Pilates and started a regular practice my posture has improved, my core is stronger, and I generally feel happier and more limber (as long as I keep up the practice.) I find it much easier to maintain good form when doing other types of exercise such as running or biking. Can’t say enough for Pilates – it’s great!

  6. JP Says:

    Thanks for sharing your Pilates success story with us, Sarah. I hope it will inspire others to try it out and that they’ll also find similar benefits! 🙂

    Be well!


  7. Rachael Says:

    Pilates has been amazing for me. I have a back injury and Pilates has really helped strengthen the supporting muscles and reduce the pain. Plus the breathing and flow of the routines are very grounding and relaxing like yoga which has helped me relax, focus, and de-stress. Oh yeah and my abs are slammin’ 😉

  8. JP Says:

    Excellent to hear, Rachael. Thanks for sharing your positive results with us! 🙂

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    Update: Pilates supports urinary continence after prostate surgery …


    Neurourol Urodyn. 2015 Mar 21.

    Is pilates as effective as conventional pelvic floor muscle exercises in the conservative treatment of post-prostatectomy urinary incontinence? A randomised controlled trial.

    AIMS: To verify the efficacy of a Pilates exercise program compared to conventional pelvic floor muscle exercise (PFME) protocol in the conservative treatment of post-prostatectomy urinary incontinence (PPUI).

    METHODS: Baseline assessment was performed four weeks postoperatively and included 24 hr pad test, bladder diary, and the ICIQ-SF. Patients were randomised into three groups: Pilates (G1), PFME combined with anal electrical stimulation (G2), and a control group (G3). Both treatment groups had to perform 10 weekly treatment sessions. Primary outcomes were mean reduction of daily pads and mean reduction of ICIQ-SF score four months after surgery. The significance level was set at P <  0.05. RESULTS: 85 patients completed the study. Differences between treatment groups (G1 and G2) in terms of mean reduction in daily pad usage, 24 hr pad test, and ICIQ-SF scores were not statistically significant (P > 0.05). The control group differed from G1 in daily pad usage (P = 0.01) and ICIQ-SF score (P = 0.0073). Intergroup comparisons revealed that 57.7% of the volunteers in G1 and 50% of the individuals from G2 no longer used pads by the end of the treatment period (P = 0.57). In the control group, 22.6% were not using pads four months after surgery, with statistical difference compared to G1 (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The Pilates exercise program proved to be as effective as conventional PFME to speed up continence recovery in PPUI. It also achieved a higher rate of fully continent patients when compared to the control group in the short-term. Be well! JP

  10. JP Says:

    Update: Practicing pilates may improve mood and sexual function in women …


    J Sex Marital Ther. 2015 Mar 31:0.

    Pilates For Better Sex: Changes in Sexual Functioning in Healthy Turkish Women after Pilates Exercise.

    Although a large number of studies report the impact of daily exercise on many aspects of women’s health, none of them address the relationship between Pilates exercise and sexual function prospectively. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of Pilates exercise on sexual function, in healthy young women using a validated questionnaire. A total of 34 premenopausal healthy Turkish women aged between 20-50 years who had regular menstrual cycles and sexual relationships were included in the study. Women were asked to complete Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaires. Questionnaires were completed before and after 12-week Pilates exercise. Primary end points were changes in total and individual domain scores on the FSFI and BDI. After 12-week Pilates intervention, BDI scores were decreased and all domains of the FSFI were significantly improved with mean± SD total FSFI scores increasing from 25.9±7.4 to 32.2±3.6 (P<0.0001). This is the first prospective study that quantifies the improvement in sexual function of healthy women after a 12-week Pilates program. Our findings suggest that Pilates may improve sexual function in healthy women. However, further studies with a larger sample size are needed on this field.

    Be well!


  11. JP Says:

    Update: Pilates reduces postpartum fatigue …


    Effect of Pilates exercises on postpartum maternal fatigue

    INTRODUCTION: Postpartum fatigue is a pervasive phenomenon and often affects mothers immediately after delivery. The present study aimed to assess the effect Pilates home exercises had on postpartum maternal fatigue.

    METHODS: A total of 80 women participated in our clinical trial study. The women were randomly divided into two groups – the intervention group (n = 40) and the control group (n = 40). In the intervention group, the women performed Pilates exercises five times a week (30 min per session) for eight consecutive weeks. The first session was conducted 72 hours after delivery. The control group did not receive any intervention. Each woman’s level of fatigue was evaluated at hospital discharge (as a baseline), and at four and eight weeks after delivery, using the standard Multidimensional
    Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20) questionnaire and repeated measures analysis.

    RESULTS: During the eight weeks of follow-up, we found that the intervention group had lower mean MFI-20 scores than the control group with regard to general fatigue (7.80 ± 2.07 vs. 12.72 ± 1.79; p < 0.001), physical fatigue (7.12 ± 1.41 vs. 10.42 ± 2.02; p < 0.001), reduced activity (6.95 ± 1.35 vs. 11.27 ± 1.70; p < 0.001), reduced motivation (6.20 ± 1.01 vs. 9.80 ± 2.04; p < 0.001) and mental fatigue (6.85 ± 1.45 vs. 10.72 ± 1.98; p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: The present study’s findings show that physical exercise can significantly reduce postpartum maternal fatigue in all subscales. Be well! JP

  12. JP Says:

    Updated 08/17/15:


    Maturitas. 2015 Aug 3.

    Effects of a six-week Pilates intervention on balance and fear of falling in women aged over 65 with chronic low-back pain: A randomized controlled trial.

    OBJECTIVE: The purpose of our study was to evaluate the effects of six weeks of Pilates regarding functional balance, fear of falling and pain in community living women older than 65 years old with chronic low-back pain.

    STUDY DESIGN: A single blind controlled randomized trial of six weeks of Pilates in addition to physiotherapy treatment (n=50) vs. physiotherapy treatment alone (n=47) was conducted on 97 community living women (71.14±3.30 years) with chronic low-back pain (CLBP).

    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Main outcome measures were fear of falling (FoF), assessed by the Falls Efficacy Scale-international; functional mobility and balance, measured with the Timed up and Go Test; and pain, evaluated using the numeric rating scale.

    RESULTS: Only the Pilates group showed improvement in FoF (ES; d=.68) and functional mobility and balance (ES; d=1.12) after treatment, and also had better results in pain (ES; d=1.46) than the physiotherapy-only group.

    CONCLUSIONS: Six weeks of Pilates exercises may be effective in fall prevention through the improvement of FoF, functional balance, and pain in Spanish women over 65 years old with CLBP.

    Be well!


  13. JP Says:

    Updated 09/22/15:


    Clin Rehabil. 2015 Sep 18.

    Feasibility of Pilates exercise to decrease falls risk: A pilot randomized controlled trial in community-dwelling older people.

    OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the feasibility of Pilates exercise in older people to decrease falls risk and inform a larger trial.

    DESIGN: Pilot Randomized controlled trial.

    SETTING: Community physiotherapy clinic.

    PARTICIPANTS: A total of 53 community-dwelling people aged ⩾60 years (mean age, 69.3 years; age range, 61-84).

    INTERVENTIONS: A 60-minute Pilates class incorporating best practice guidelines for exercise to prevent falls, performed twice weekly for 12 weeks. All participants received a letter to their general practitioner with falls risk information, fall and fracture prevention education and home exercises.

    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Indicators of feasibility included: acceptability (recruitment, retention, intervention adherence and participant experience survey); safety (adverse events); and potential effectiveness (fall, fall injury and injurious fall rates; standing balance; lower limb strength; and flexibility) measured at 12 and 24 weeks.

    RESULTS: Recruitment was achievable but control group drop-outs were high (23%). Of the 20 participants who completed the intervention, 19 (95%) attended ⩾75% of the classes and reported classes were enjoyable and would recommend them to others. The rate of fall injuries at 24 weeks was 42% lower and injurious fall rates 64% lower in the Pilates group, however, was not statistically significant (P = 0.347 and P = 0.136). Standing balance, lower-limb strength and flexibility improved in the Pilates group relative to the control group (P < 0.05). Estimates suggest a future definitive study would require 804 participants to detect a difference in fall injury rates. CONCLUSION: A definitive randomized controlled trial analysing the effect of Pilates in older people would be feasible and is warranted given the acceptability and potential positive effects of Pilates on fall injuries and fall risk factors. Be well! JP

  14. JP Says:

    Updated 10/17/15:

    Disabil Rehabil. 2015 Oct 16:1-9.

    Short- and long-term effects of a six-week clinical Pilates program in addition to physical therapy on postmenopausal women with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial.

    PURPOSE: To determine the short- and long-term effectiveness of the application of Clinical Pilates in addition to physical therapy versus a physical therapy treatment alone in a population of postmenopausal women with chronic low back pain (CLBP).

    METHODS: A single-blind randomized controlled trial with repeated measures and a follow-up period. One hundred and one patients were randomly allocated to a Pilates + physical therapy (PPT) group or to a physical therapy (PT) only group for six weeks. Pain and disability were measured by visual analog scale (VAS) and the Oswestry disability index respectively preintervention, after 6 weeks of treatment and after 1-year follow-up.

    RESULTS: There were significant differences between groups in pain and disability after 6 weeks of treatment, with better results in the PPT group with an effect size of d = 3.14 and d = 2.33 for pain and disability. After 1-year follow-up, only PPT group showed better results compared with baseline with an effect size of d = 2.49 and d = 4.98 for pain and disability.

    CONCLUSION: The results suggest that using Clinical Pilates in addition to physical therapy provides improved results on pain management and functional status for postmenopausal woman with CLBP and that its benefits still linger after one year. Implications for Rehabilitation Chronic Low Back Pain could benefit from the Pilates practice in postmenopausal women. Improvement in pain and disability derived from CLBP seem to be maintained over time due to Pilates practice. Pilates constitutes a safe tool to be applied in older population with CLBP due to its ability to be adapted to every performance and physical level.

    Be well!


  15. JP Says:

    Updated 02/18/16:


    Women Health. 2016 Feb 16.

    Effects of Active/Passive Interventions on Pain, Anxiety and Quality of Life in Women with Fibromyalgia: Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial.

    This study was compared the effects of Pilates exercises and connective tissue massage (CTM) on pain intensity, pain-pressure threshold and tolerance, anxiety, progress, and health-related quality of life in females with fibromyalgia. It was a pilot, assessor masked, randomized controlled trial conducted between January and August 2013. Twenty-one women with fibromyalgia were randomly assigned to the pilates exercise program (six of whom did not complete the program), and 22 were randomly assigned to CTM (one of whom did not complete this program). Each group received the assigned intervention three times per week during a four-week period. Visual analogue scale, algometry, state-trait anxiety inventory, fibromyalgia impact questionnaire and Nottingham Health Profile were used at baseline and at the end of treatments. Significant improvements were found in both groups for all parameters. However, the scores for pain-pressure threshold were significantly elevated and the symptoms of anxiety were significantly diminished in the exercise group compared to the massage group. Thus, exercise and massage might be used to provide improvements in women with fibromyalgia. The exercise group showed more advantages than massage group and thus might be preferred for patients with fibromyalgia. However, an adequately powered trial is required to determine this with certainty.

    Be well!


  16. JP Says:

    Updated 05/11/16:


    J Exerc Rehabil. 2016 Apr 26;12(2):119-23.

    The effect of 12-week Pilates exercises on wellness in the elderly.

    The purpose of this study is to examine the efficiency of 12-week Pilates exercises on wellness in the elderly. Before Pilates exercises training, the 88 elderly (63 females, 25 males) were given and completed a Wellness Scale. Then, the elderly participated in Pilates exercises and completed the same scale afterwards. Results of paired t-test showed that participants in 12-week Pilates exercises experienced significant improvement in physical (t=2.762, P<0.01), social (t=3.362, P<0.001), spiritual (t=2.307, P<0.05), and emotional wellness (t=2.489, P<0.05). Consequently, Pilates exercises helped improve wellness of the elderly.

    Be well!


  17. JP Says:

    Updated 05/15/16:


    J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 Mar;28(3):761-8.

    Improvements in cognition, quality of life, and physical performance with clinical Pilates in multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled trial.

    [Purpose] The aim of this study was to determine the effects of clinical Pilates in multiple sclerosis patients.

    [Subjects and Methods] Twenty multiple sclerosis patients were enrolled in this study. The participants were divided into two groups as the clinical Pilates and control groups. Cognition (Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite), balance (Berg Balance Scale), physical performance (timed performance tests, Timed up and go test), tiredness (Modified Fatigue Impact scale), depression (Beck Depression Inventory), and quality of life (Multiple Sclerosis International Quality of Life Questionnaire) were measured before and after treatment in all participants.

    [Results] There were statistically significant differences in balance, timed performance, tiredness and Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite tests between before and after treatment in the clinical Pilates group. We also found significant differences in timed performance tests, the Timed up and go test and the Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite between before and after treatment in the control group. According to the difference analyses, there were significant differences in Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite and Multiple Sclerosis International Quality of Life Questionnaire scores between the two groups in favor of the clinical Pilates group. There were statistically significant clinical differences in favor of the clinical Pilates group in comparison of measurements between the groups. Clinical Pilates improved cognitive functions and quality of life compared with traditional exercise.

    [Conclusion] In Multiple Sclerosis treatment, clinical Pilates should be used as a holistic approach by physical therapists.

    Be well!


  18. JP Says:

    Updated 05/23/16:


    Physiol Behav. 2016 May 16.

    Physical and psychological benefits of once-a-week Pilates exercises in young sedentary women: A 10-week longitudinal study.

    Pilates exercises have several demonstrated physical and psychological benefits. To date, most research in this context was conducted with symptomatic or elderly people with few dependent measures. The current study examined the chronic or longitudinal effects of very low frequency, once a week, Pilates training on several physical and psychological measures, over a 10-week intervention, in young, healthy, and sedentary women. Further, the study gauged the acute effects of Pilates exercises on positive- and negative affect in 10 exercise sessions. Compared to a control group, the Pilates group exhibited significant improvements in skeletal muscle mass, flexibility, balance, core- and abdominal muscle strength, body awareness, and negative affect. This group also showed favorable changes in positive (22.5% increase) and negative affect (12.2% decrease) in nine out of ten exercise sessions. This work clearly demonstrates the acute and chronic benefits of Pilates training on both physical and psychological measures. It also reveals that even only once a week Pilates training is enough to trigger detectable benefits in young sedentary women. While this frequency is below the required levels of exercise for health, it may overcome the ‘lack of time’ excuse for not exercising and subsequently its tangible benefits may positively influence one’s engagement in more physical activity.

    Be well!


  19. JP Says:

    Updated 06/03/16:


    Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2016 May;7:70-3.

    Effects of Pilates exercises on sensory interaction, postural control and fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis.

    BACKGROUND: Decreased postural control, sensory integration deficits and fatigue are important problems that cause functional impairments in patients with multiple sclerosis (pwMS).

    PURPOSE: To examine the effect of modified clinical Pilates exercises on sensory interaction and balance, postural control and fatigue in pwMS.

    METHODS: Eleven patients with multiple sclerosis and 12 healthy matched controls were recruited in this study. Limits of stability and postural stability tests were used to evaluate postural control by Biodex Balance System and sensory interaction assessed. Fatigue was assessed by Modified Fatigue Impact Scale. Pilates exercises were applied two times a week for 10 weeks and measurements were repeated to pwMS after exercise training.

    RESULTS: Postural control and fatigue (except psychosocial parameter) of pwMS were significantly worser than healthy controls (p<0.05). Significant improvements occurred in sensory interaction (eyes open, foam surface) and total, physical and cognitive scores of fatigue after 10-week modified clinical Pilates training (p<0.05). No significant changes were detected in postural control after the pilates exercises (p>0.05).

    CONCLUSIONS: Ten-week Pilates training is effective to improve sensory interaction and to decrease fatigue. Pilates exercises can be applied safely in ambulatory pwMS for enhance sensory interaction and balance and combat fatigue. More investigations are needed.

    Be well!


  20. JP Says:

    Updated 06/26/16:


    Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2016 Jun 23.

    Effectiveness of Pilates-based exercises on upper extremity disorders related with breast cancer treatment.

    Breast cancer treatment causes upper extremity (UE) impairments. This study aims to assess the efficacy of Pilates-based exercises (PE) in comparison with combined exercise (CE) and home exercise (HE) groups, in the rehabilitation of UE disorders related with breast cancer treatment. Fifty-five patients were randomly allocated to PE, CE (consisting of strengthening, stretching and range of motion [ROM] exercises) and HE groups (consisting of CE group exercises). Pain (using visual analogue scale), ROM (using digital goniometer), muscle strength (using dynamometer and pinch gauge), functional status (using Constant-Murley scale and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand scale) were evaluated before and after intervention. For data analyses (using spss 21 version), one-way ANOVA, paired samples t-test and Kruskal-Wallis test were performed (p ≤ .05 was considered statistically significant). The data obtained in this study revealed significant improvements in almost all the parameters measured in the PE and CE groups, and some improvements were superior to HE group. PE seemed to have resulted similar improvements in pain, muscle strength and functional status when compared to CE group. Therefore, PE seems to be an effective method of rehabilitation of patients with UE disorders related with breast cancer treatment, and might be considered for use as an alternative to CE in this population.

    Be well!


  21. JP Says:

    Updated 11/05/16:


    J Exerc Rehabil. 2016 Oct 31;12(5):494-498.

    Effect of a 16-week Pilates exercise program on the ego resiliency and depression in elderly women.

    This study aims to examine the effect of a 16-week Pilates exercise program on the ego resiliency and depression in elderly women. Before participating in Pilates exercise programs, researcher explained the purpose and the intention of the research to elderly women who were willing to participate in this research. A total of 148 elderly women agreed to participate in the program and they filled in ego resiliency and depression questionnaires. Then, the elderly participated in the 16-week Pilates exercise program and completed the same questionnaires afterwards. Collected data was analyzed by the SPSS ver. 20.0 program and results of paired t-test were as follows; there were statistically significant differences in all subvariables of the ego resiliency such as self-confidence (t=7.770, P<0.001), communication efficiency (t=2.690, P<0.01), optimistic trait (t=1.996, P<0.05), and anger management (t=4.525, P<0.001) after elderly women participated in the 16-week Pilates exercise program, there was a statistically significant difference in depression of elderly women who participated in the 16-week Pilates exercise program (t=-6.506, P<0.001) which was statistically lower than before their participation in the program. Consequently, participating in the Pilates exercise program can help improve the ego-resiliency and alleviate depression of the elderly women.

    Be well!


  22. JP Says:

    Updated 03/24/17:


    J Breast Health (2013). 2017 Jan 1;13(1):16-22.

    Effects of Clinical Pilates Exercises on Patients Developing Lymphedema after Breast Cancer Treatment: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of clinical Pilates exercises with those of the standard lymphedema exercises on lymphedema developing after breast cancer treatment.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study comprised 60 female patients with a mean age of 53.2±7.7 years who developed lymphedema after having breast cancer treatment. The patients were randomized into two groups: the clinical Pilates exercise group (n=30), and the control group (n=30). Before, and at the 8th week of treatment, the following parameters were measured: the severity of lymphedema, limb circumferences, body image using the Social Appearance Anxiety Scale, quality of life with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) quality of life questionnaire (QLQ-BR23), and upper extremity function using the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) outcome measure. Both groups performed one-hour exercises three days a week for 8 weeks.

    RESULTS: After treatment, the symptoms recovered significantly in both groups. Reductions in the severity of lymphedema, improvements in the social appearance anxiety scale scores, quality of life scores, and upper extremity functions scores in the clinical Pilates exercise group were greater than those in the control group. Clinical Pilates exercises were determined to be more effective on the symptoms of patients with lymphedema than were standard lymphedema exercises.

    CONCLUSIONS: Clinical Pilates exercises could be considered a safe model and would contribute to treatment programs.

    Be well!


  23. JP Says:

    Updated 09/18/17:


    Complement Ther Med. 2017 Oct;34:104-110.

    Immediate effects of Pilates based therapeutic exercise on postural control of young individuals with non-specific low back pain: A randomized controlled trial.

    OBJECTIVES: Low back pain affects the person’s ability to keep balance, especially in challenging conditions. The purpose of this study was to determine the immediate effects of Pilates exercises on postural sway and dynamic balance of young individuals with non-specific low back pain.

    DESIGN: Controlled laboratory design.

    SETTINGS AND MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Forty-six participants with non-specific low back pain were randomized to a Pilates (n=23, 10 males; age: 21.8±3.2years) and a control group (n=23, 9 males; age: 22.8±3.6years). Postural sway was assessed with a force platform and dynamic balance with the Star Excursion Balance Test, before and after the intervention or rest period. To assess postural sway, participants stood still on an unstable surface set on the force plate for 90s, with eyes closed.

    INTERVENTION: The intervention lasted 20min and consisted on four Pilates exercises: single leg stretch (level 1), pelvic press (level 1), swimming (level 1) and kneeling opposite arm and leg reach.

    RESULTS: At baseline, no differences were found between groups. The Pilates group improved in all the postural sway values (area of CoP: 11.5±3.4 to 9.7±2.7cm2, p=0.002 and CoP velocity: 2.8±0.6 to 2.3±0.5cm/s, p<0.001) and in the Star Excursion Balance Test. Control group only improved in CoP velocity, however, this improvement was significantly inferior compared to the Pilates group.

    CONCLUSIONS: Pilates exercises immediately improved postural sway and dynamic balance in young adults with non-specific low back pain.

    Be well!


  24. JP Says:

    Updated 09/28/17:


    NeuroRehabilitation. 2017 Sep 16.

    The effects of Mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: A randomized controlled study.

    BACKGROUND: Pilates is an exercise method which increases strength and endurance of core muscles and improves flexibility, dynamic postural control and balance.

    OBJECTIVE: To analyze and compare the effects of Mat and Reformer Pilates methods in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

    METHODS: 38 patients with MS were included in the study. Participants were randomly divided into 3 groups as Mat Pilates, Reformer Pilates and control groups. The subjects in the Pilates groups did Mat or Reformer Pilates for 8 weeks, 2 days a week. The control group did breathing and relaxation exercises at home. Balance, functional mobility, core stability, fatigue severity and quality of life were evaluated.

    RESULTS: Balance, functional mobility, core stability, fatigue severity and quality of life improved after Pilates in Mat and Reformer Pilates groups (p <  0.05). On the other hand, we couldn't find any changing in the control group (p > 0.05). When the gain obtained in the Pilates groups is compared, it has been observed that progress has been more in trunk flexor muscle strength in the Reformer Pilates group (p <  0.05) and that the gain has been similar in the other parameters (p > 0.05).

    CONCLUSIONS: As a result, patients with MS have seen similar benefits in Reformer Pilates and Mat Pilates methods.

    Be well!


  25. JP Says:

    Updated 11/03/17:


    Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2017 Oct 30;74:118-122.

    Effects of 16-weeks of Pilates on health perception and sleep quality among elderly women.

    The objective of this study was to determine the effect of 16 weeks of mat-based Pilates training on health perception and sleep quality among elderly women. A randomized and controlled trial was conducted in Caxias do Sul, Brazil, in 2015, in which 61 healthy older women were divided into two groups: experimental group (EG; n=31, average of 64.25 years old, SD 0.14) and control group (CG; n=30, average of 63.75 years old, SD 0.08). The EG participants performed mat-based Pilates exercises twice a week in 60-min sessions, whereas the CG did not train. All participants completed Brazilian-adapted and validated versions of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI-BR) and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) at baseline and after 16 weeks. Significant time x group interaction effects were found for the GHQ-12 total score (p<0.001, η2=0.19), and the depression (p=0.002, η2=0.15) and social dysfunction subscales (p=0.001, η2=0.18), as well as the PSQI-BR total score (p=0.017, η2=0.09), and the sleep latency (p=0.023, η2=0.09) and use of sleeping medication subscales (p=0.019, η2=0.09), indicating better improvements (reductions) in these outcome variables for the Pilates EG when compared to the CG. All significant effects were classified as moderate to high. These results indicate that 16 weeks of mat-based Pilates training significantly improves the perceived health status and some sleep quality indices among elderly women. However, more studies are needed to assess the effectiveness of equipment-based Pilates exercises among this population.

    Be well!


  26. JP Says:

    Updated 11/28/17:


    Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2017 Nov 16.

    Pilates workouts can reduce pain in pregnant women.

    OBJECTIVE: This study aims to evaluate the effects of Pilates exercises for a decreasing pain in pregnant women.

    METHODS: A total of 40 pregnant women were divided into two groups, a control group (followed a standard pregnancy exercise regimen) and a Pilates group (completed a Pilates exercise regimen). A pain assessment was carried out after exercise, using a visual analog scale. The Pilates group workout program lasted 70-80 min per day, once a week, for 8 weeks.

    RESULTS: The reduction in the level of pain was found to be significantly greater in the group of pregnant women who completed the Pilates workout (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study indicated that Pilates is an effective, healthy, and feasible method of reducing pain in pregnancy, and is therefore a beneficial alternative workout for the suppression of pain in the third trimester of pregnancy. Be well! JP

  27. JP Says:

    Updated 2/19/18:


    J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2018 Feb 12.

    Effects of Whole-Body Vibration Versus Pilates Exercise on Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized and Controlled Clinical Trial.

    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Decreased bone mineral density (BMD) is a common condition in postmenopausal women that can be managed with impact activities. Among the activities studied are the whole-body vibration (WBV) and muscle-strengthening exercises. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of WBV versus Pilates exercise on BMD in postmenopausal women.

    METHODS: In this study, 51 postmenopausal women were randomized into 3 groups: vibration (n = 17), Pilates (n = 17), and control (n = 17). Outcomes were the areal bone mineral density (aBMD) (lumbar spine, femoral neck, total hip, trochanter, intertrochanter, and ward’s area) assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry at baseline and follow-up. The interventions were performed 3 times a week for 6 months, totaling 78 sessions. The analysis was performed with intention-to-treat and covariance analyses adjusted for baseline outcomes.

    RESULTS: After 6 months, 96.1% of the participants completed the follow-up. The analyses demonstrated significant mean between-group differences in favor of the interventions: vibration versus control, for the aBMD of the lumbar spine (0.014 g/cm; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.006-0.022; P= .018, d = 1.21) and trochanter (0.018 g/cm; 95% CI, 0.006-0.030; P = .012, d = 1.03); and Pilates versus control, for the aBMD of the lumbar spine (0.016 g/cm; 95% CI, 0.007-0.025; P = .008, d = 1.15) and trochanter (0.020 g/cm; 95% CI, 0.010-0.031; P = .005, d = 1.28).

    CONCLUSION: In postmenopausal women, 3 weekly sessions of WBV or Pilates administered for 6 months provided an equal effect on BMD.

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