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Can Pilates Improve Bone Density?

Greetings Friends,

A topic of discussion in a recent class was "can Pilates improve bone density?" As we age, most people tend to experience some degree of loss in bone density. We know that moderate-impact weight-bearing exercise (such as walking) are of particular importance in maintaining skeletal health.

But what about Pilates?

Thanks to the research savvy of Pat Lierman, I am pleased to share with you the following:

"The effects of clinical Pilates exercises on bone mineral density, physical performance and quality of life of women with postmenopausal osteoporosis"

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Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate effects of Clinical Pilates Exercises on bone mineral density (BMD), physical performance and quality of life (QOL) in postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Methods: Forty-one women were recruited to the study. The subjects were divided into two groups, as the Pilates group and the control group. Subjects were evaluated for BMD at the lumbar region. Physical performance level was measured. Pain intensity level was scored with Visual Analogue Scale. QUALEFFO-41 was used for assessing QOL.

Results: BMD values increased in the Pilates group (p < 0.05), while BMD decreased in the control group (p< 0.05). Physical performance test results showed significant increases in the Pilates group (p< 0.05) whereas there was no changes in the control group (p> 0.05). Pain intensity level in the Pilates group was significantly decreased after the exercise (p< 0.05), while it was unchanged in the control group. There were significant increases in all parameters of QOL in the Pilates group. Conversely, some parameters of QOL showed decreases in the control group (p< 0.05).

Conclusions: Pilates Exercises is effective to increase BMD; QOL and walking distance and also beneficial to relieve pain. Physiotherapist can use Pilates Exercises for the subjects with osteoporosis in the clinics.

And, for those who are curious about a few more terms, Pat also dug up the following definitions from Source- QV Physiotherapy

Non-Clinical Pilates involves general core stability, strength and endurance exercises.

Pilates caters to the general public and does not focus on a specific injury or physical need. The focus of Pilates is on improving overall physical health, rather than a particular muscle area.

Clinical Pilates is patient-specific.

Clinical Pilates is used for patient-specific treatment after an injury or surgery. It differs from Pilates because it takes into account an individual’s specific injuries and physical needs, instead of having multiple individuals complete the same program.

In Conclusion:

Yay for us! Not only does Pilates improve bone density, it also decrease pain levels, physical fitness and overall quality of life (QOL) measures!

May you find peace in each day and joy in your body.



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