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The Effects of Home-Based Pilates in Healthy College-Aged Women

Donahoe-Fillmore, Betsy PT, PhD, PCS; Fisher, Mary Insana PT, PhD, OCS, CLT; Brahler, C. Jayne PhD

Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy: May/August 2015 - Volume 39 - Issue 2 - p 83–94
doi: 10.1097/JWH.0000000000000031
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Objectives: To quantify and determine the effects of Pilates on core endurance, hamstring flexibility, balance, body composition/mass, and perceived stress level in healthy college-aged women.

Study Design: Randomized controlled trial design.

Background: Emerging research on the Pilates technique is inconclusive regarding benefits to core endurance, flexibility, balance, body mass, and perceived stress.

Methods and Measures: Female college students (n = 57; 18-35 years old) were randomly assigned to a Pilates group, who exercised at home with a DVD, or a control group who did not engage in Pilates practice. Core endurance, hamstring flexibility, balance, body composition, and stress measurements were taken at baseline and at 10 weeks.

Results: There was a statistically significant difference between groups for multidirectional standing reach test results, specifically reaching to the right, and right hamstring flexibility.

Conclusion: Pilates practice resulted in gains in balance and hamstring flexibility among college-aged women. Limitations in this study, including the unknown level of activity of the control group, warrant further investigation. Additional research is needed to determine whether Pilates has a significant effect on core endurance, body composition, and perceived stress level.

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio.

Conflicts of interest and source of funding: None declared.

Copyright © 2015 by the Section on Women's Health, American Physical Therapy Association.
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