OBJECTIVE: The present meta-analysis aimed to examine evidence from randomized controlled trials in order to determine the effects of mat Pilates on measures of physical functional performance in the elderly.
DESIGN: A search was conducted in the MEDLINE/PubMed, Scopus, Scielo and PEDro databases between February and March 2017. Only RCTs that were written in English; included subjects 60 years-old; utilized 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 (SMD=1.10, 95%CI=0.29-1.90), muscle strength (SMD=1.13, 95%CI=0.30-1.96), flexibility (SMD=1.22, 95%CI=0.39-2.04) and cardiorespiratory fitness (SMD=1.48, 95%CI=0.42-2.54) of elderly subjects.
CONCLUSION: There is evidence that mat Pilates improves dynamic balance, lower limb strength, hip and lower back flexibility and cardiovascular endurance in elderly individuals. Further high-quality studies are necessary to clarify the effects of mat Pilates on other physical functional measurements among older adults.