This systematic review aims to summarize the effects of Pilates exercise training (PET) in elderly population on physical fitness, balance and fall prevention, and its effects on mood states, quality of life and independence in the daily living activities.
Methods: Keyword “Pilates” associated with “elderly”, “aging” and “old subjects” were identified as terms for the literature research in MEDLINE, Embase, PubMed, Scopus, PsycINFO and SPORTDiscus. Only studies published in peer-reviewed journals written in English language were considered. A meta-analysis was performed and effect sizes (ES) calculated.
Results: 10 studies were identified (6 RCTs and 4 uncontrolled trials); age ranged from 60 to 80years. Overall, PET showed large ES to improve muscle strength (ES=1.23), walking and gait performances (ES=1.39), activities of daily living, mood states and quality of life (ES=0.94), moderate to high effect on dynamic balance (ES=0.77), small effects on static balance (ES=0.34) and flexibility (ES=0.31), while a small effect on cardio-metabolic outcomes (ES=0.07).
Conclusions: PET should be taken into account as a way to improve quality of life in the elderly, due to the imparted benefits of fall prevention, physical fitness, and mood states. In this context, physicians might include PET as a tool for exercise prescriptions for the elderly.