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.
Keywords: Elderly; Health perception; Pilates method; Sleep quality.
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