Some of this information is taken from an article in the most recent edition of Physiotherapy Frontline magazine.

In the UK, 11.8 million people are aged 65 or older, with numbers increasing each year. Maintaining physical fitness in this age group is of paramount importance for the prevention of falls and cardiovascular disease but also to ensure mental wellbeing.
Mat Pilates, offered at Emma James physiotherapy on a one to one basis or small group class, is a form of exercise that only requires a mat. It aims to strengthen the abdominal and core muscles, as well as many other muscles. It also focuses on increased flexibility and balance. Though, in theory, Pilates should be beneficial for older adults, there has been limited objective evidence.

What did this study do?

This systematic review (the highest quality research which can be conducted) included nine randomised controlled trials comparing mat Pilates with no exercise. Studies included 415 adults aged over 60 years with no recorded health concerns.

What did it find?

Mat Pilates gave a large improvement in all the following elements compared to no exercise:

  • Dynamic balance
  • Lower limb muscle strength
  • Lower body flexibility
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness

What does current guidance say on this issue?

Department of Health 2011 guidelines recommend adults aged 65 or more complete at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. They also recommend strength training on at least two days a week.

NICE 2008 guidelines on mental wellbeing in the over 65s recommends tailored physical activity programmes, delivered by physiotherapists, fitness instructors and the voluntary sector. This includes strength, resistance, toning and stretching exercises, dancing, walking and swimming.

What are the implications?

The evidence has some limitations, as is often the case with physiotherapy research design, but the conclusion was that Pilates is beneficial for for strength, balance and flexibility.

Mat Pilates Classes in Hemel Hempstead

At Emma James Physio we offer customised 1-1/ 1-2 sessions or small group classes run by highly qualified clinical pilates instructors who are also therapists.
See our Pilates Class Timetable and Pilates section for more information and how to book.

lisa

Lisa
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Blog post by Lisa
Senior Physiotherapist
MSc MACP MHCPC MCSP 

Emma James Physio

Source: de Souza ROB, de Faria Marcon, de Arruda ASF, et al. Effects of Mat Pilates on Physical Functional Performance of Older Adults: a Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2017. [Epub ahead of print].