A Randomized Controlled Study Investigating Static and Dynamic Balance in Older Adults After Training With Pilates
Bird, M-L and Hill, KD and Fell, JW, A Randomized Controlled Study Investigating Static and Dynamic Balance in Older Adults After Training With Pilates, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 93, (1) pp. 43-9. ISSN 0003-9993 (2012) [Refereed Article]
Objective: To evaluate effects of a Pilates intervention on
balance and function in community-dwelling older (aged 60y)
Design: Randomized crossover study design lasting 16
Setting: University exercise clinic.
Participants: Ambulatory older community-dwelling adults
(N=32) were recruited, and 27 (mean +/- SD age, 67.3+/-6.5y)
completed the program.
Intervention: Participants were allocated to either 5 weeks of
a group Pilates training intervention or 5 weeks of usual activity
(control). After a 6-week washout period, participants performed
the alternate intervention.
Main Outcome Measures: Static and dynamic balance measures
(mediolateral sway range, Four Square Step Test, Timed
Up and Go Test) and leg strength were recorded at 4 times
before and after each intervention (baseline [t1], interim time
immediately after the first group intervention [t2], after 5-week
washout [before the second intervention period] [t3], and at
study conclusion after the second group intervention [t4]).
Results: There were no significant differences between the
Pilates and control groups for any measured variables (P>.05)
despite static and dynamic balance significantly improving
during the study and from pre- to post-Pilates (P<.05) without
significant changes occurring during the control phase. Improvements
that occurred during Pilates between t1 and t2 did
not return to baseline after the washout period (t3). There were
no changes in leg strength. Mediolateral sway range standing
on a foam cushion with eyes closed improved -1.64cm (95%
confidence interval, -2.47 to -0.82) and had the largest effect
size post-Pilates (d=.72).
Conclusions: Although there were no significant betweengroup
differences, participation in the Pilates component of the
study led to improved static and dynamic balance. The absence
of differences between conditions may be a result of smallsample size or the crossover study design because Pilates may produce neuromuscular adaptations of unknown resilience.