Home > Journals > Medicina dello Sport > Past Issues > Medicina dello Sport 2013 December;66(4) > Medicina dello Sport 2013 December;66(4):545-53



To subscribe
Submit an article
Recommend to your librarian





Medicina dello Sport 2013 December;66(4):545-53


language: English, Italian

Effects of a mat pilates program on flexibility in elderly women

Fourie M. 1, Gildenhuys G. M. 2, Shaw I. 3, Shaw B. S. 4, Toriola A. L. 5, Goon D. T. 6

1 Entheos Christian School, The Reeds, Centurion, Republic of South Africa; 2 Karl Storz Endoscopy,(, Roggebaai, Republic of South Africa; 3 Office of the Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor: Research, Monash South Africa, Ruimsig, Republic of South Africa; 4 Department of Sport and Movement Studies, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa; 5 Department of Sport, Rehabilitation and Dental Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, Gauteng, R epublic of South Africa; 6 Centre for Biokinetics, Recreation and Sports Science, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, Limpopo, Republic of South Africa


Aim: Flexibility, described the range of motion (ROM) of single or multiple joints, has greatly to do with dependency and independency especially for the frail elderly, as even simple tasks like bathing require a great deal of range of motion. As such, even the slightest loss of natural flexibility can affect quality of life. Pilates has been shown to effectively improve flexibility. However, little is known about the effects of Pilates in the elderly, therefore creating an opportunity to investigate the effects of Pilates on flexibility in the elderly. The present study was thus conducted to determine the effects of mat Pilates on flexibility in elderly women.
Methods: Fifty sedentary, apparently healthy females aged 60 years and older were randomly assigned to a non-exercising control (CG, N.=25) or exercising intervention (IG, N.=25) group. The IG took part in an eight-week progressive mat Pilates exercise program, three times weekly while the CG did not take part in any structured exercises throughout the eight-week period. All subjects underwent pre- and post-test in which flexibility of the shoulder, hip and knee were assessed.
Results: The eight-weeks of mats Pilates program demonstrated a significant (P≤0.05) improvements in shoulder flexion (from 152.84±21.32 degrees to 179.60±10.53 degrees; P=0.000) and hip flexion (from 74.36±13.07 degrees to 82.60±16.40 degrees; P=0.002), but not shoulder extension (from 54.80±24.03 to 61.20±9.99 P=0.184) or knee flexion (from 79.20±10.48 degrees to 82.60±16.40 degrees; P=0.371).
Conclusion: An eight-week mat Pilates exercise program is only moderately successful at improving general flexibility in elderly women.

top of page