Positive long-term effects of Pilates exercise on the aged-related decline in balance and strength in older, community-dwelling men and women

J Aging Phys Act. 2014 Jul;22(3):342-7. doi: 10.1123/japa.2013-0006. Epub 2013 Aug 6.


This study investigated the effect of Pilates exercise on physical fall risk factors 12 months after an initial 5-week Pilates intervention. The authors hypothesized that ongoing Pilates participation would have a positive effect on physical fall risk factors in those who continued with Pilates exercise compared with those who ceased. Thirty older ambulatory adults (M = 69 years, SD = 7) participated in Pilates classes for 5 weeks with testing preintevention (Time 1 [T1]) and postintervention (Time 2 [T2]) and 12 months later (Time 3 [T3]). Balance and leg strength were compared using a 2-way analysis of variance with repeated measures. Postural sway, dynamic balance, and function improvements evident after the initial Pilates training (T1-T2) were maintained at T3 (p < .01). Significant differences existed at T3 for dynamic balance and strength between participants who continued performing Pilates (n = 14) and those who had ceased. Balance improvements after a short Pilates intervention were maintained 1 year later in all participants, with increased benefits from ongoing participation.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Exercise Movement Techniques*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Housing for the Elderly
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors