Objective: The present meta-analysis aimed to examine evidence from randomized controlled trials to determine the effects of mat Pilates on measures of physical functional performance in the older population.
Design: A search was conducted in the MEDLINE/PubMed, Scopus, Scielo, and PEDro databases between February and March 2017. Only randomized controlled trials that were written in English, included subjects aged 60 yrs who used mat Pilates exercises, included a comparison (control) group, and reported performance-based measures of physical function (balance, flexibility, muscle strength, and cardiorespiratory fitness) were included. The methodological quality of the studies was analyzed according to the PEDro scale and the best-evidence synthesis. The meta-analysis was conducted with the Review Manager 5.3 software.
Results: The search retrieved 518 articles, nine of which fulfilled the inclusion criteria. High methodological quality was found in five of these studies. Meta-analysis indicated a large effect of mat Pilates on dynamic balance (standardized mean difference = 1.10, 95% confidence interval = 0.29-1.90), muscle strength (standardized mean difference = 1.13, 95% confidence interval = 0.30-1.96), flexibility (standardized mean difference = 1.22, 95% confidence interval = 0.39-2.04), and cardiorespiratory fitness (standardized mean difference = 1.48, 95% confidence interval = 0.42-2.54) of elderly subjects.
Conclusions: There is evidence that mat Pilates improves dynamic balance, lower limb strength, hip and lower back flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance in elderly individuals. Furthermore, high-quality studies are necessary to clarify the effects of mat Pilates on other physical functional measurements among older adults.