Falls are the leading cause of injury-related mortality and morbidity in the elderly. Physical activity plays a key role in the prevention of falls and stimulates postural control. The aim of this study was to compare a general physical activity program for the elderly with a Pilates program to evaluate the effects on balance and on reducing the risk of falling.
Materials and Methods:
Forty-six subjects were enrolled in this study, but only 41 were included in the study. The subjects were divided into 2 groups: Pilates group (P-G) and a group following a nonspecific program of physical activity (Pa-G). Each subject underwent the hand grip test, Berg balance scale test, and posturographic analysis.
Spearman correlation coefficient showed correlations between the following parameters: BBS versus hand grip test (r = 0.68); BBS versus ellipse surface area (r = −0.75). There were significant differences between groups after the exercise program: both groups showed an improvement in performance but the P-G recorded significantly better results than the Pa-G.
Discussion and conclusions:
This study confirmed that physical activity improves both balance and strength. However, our data show that Pilates has a greater effect on these physical abilities than a general physical activity program.