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.
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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)
Originally posted at:http://www.healthyfellow.com/912/pilates-research