This study investigated the effect of Pilates exercise on physical fall risk factors 12 months after an initial 5-week Pilates intervention. The authors hypothesized that ongoing Pilates participation would have a positive effect on physical fall risk factors in those who continued with Pilates exercise compared with those who ceased. Thirty older ambulatory adults (M = 69 years, SD = 7) participated in Pilates classes for 5 weeks with testing preintevention (Time 1 [T1]) and postintervention (Time 2 [T2]) and 12 months later (Time 3 [T3]). Balance and leg strength were compared using a 2-way analysis of variance with repeated measures. Postural sway, dynamic balance, and function improvements evident after the initial Pilates training (T1–T2) were maintained at T3 (p < .01). Significant differences existed at T3 for dynamic balance and strength between participants who continued performing Pilates (n = 14) and those who had ceased. Balance improvements after a short Pilates intervention were maintained 1 year later in all participants, with increased benefits from ongoing participation.
The authors are with the School of Human Life Science, University of Tasmania, Launceston, TAS, Australia. Address author correspondence to Marie-Louise Bird at Marie-Louise.Bird@utas.edu.au