n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Effects of a mat Pilates programme on muscular strength and endurance in elderly women : exercise physiology

Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Ageing decreases physical functioning while dependency increases. Arising from these physical limitations is an increasing urge for the use of complementary and alternative medicine such as Pilates. However, whether Pilates should be used as a substitute for conventional modes of exercises, especially in the elderly is debatable. The present study was thus conducted to determine the effects of mat Pilates on muscular strength and endurance in elderly women (aged > 60 years). Fifty sedentary, apparently healthy females aged 60 and older were randomly assigned into a control (CG, n = 25) or an intervention (IG, n = 25) group. The IG took part in an eight-week progressive mat Pilates exercise programme, three times weekly while the CG did not participate in any structured exercises throughout the eight-week period. All subjects underwent pre- and post-test in which muscular strength and muscular endurance were assessed. Results obtained from the present study indicate that eight-weeks of mat Pilates produced significant (p ≤ 0.05) improvements in upper-body muscular strength (19.12 ± 5.13 repetitions (reps) - 27.84 ± 5.68 reps; p = 0.000), lower-body muscular strength (13.24 ± 3.23 reps - 7.52 ± 3.81 reps; p = 0.000) and muscular endurance (24.48 ± 11.62 reps to 44.16 ± 18.97 reps; p = 0.000). It is therefore, concluded that an eight-week mat Pilates exercise programme is sufficient enough to produce significant improvements in muscular strength and muscular endurance in elderly women.

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