Effects of Mat Pilates on Physical Functional Performance of Older Adults: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

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Abstract

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.

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