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Konstantaki, Maria; Fasbender, Jessica; Cudmore, Tom
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
Arterial stiffness has been identified as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, whereas low trunk flexibility has been suggested to be a predictor of arterial stiffening. Pilates has been shown to improve trunk flexibility in middle aged women however, the effect of Pilates on arterial compliance has not been investigated. PURPOSE: To determine the effect of a Pilates intervention on arterial compliance and trunk flexibility. METHODS: Twenty participants (age range: 24-61 years) were assigned into either Group A: physically active individuals with previous Pilates experience (PEPA, n=8) or Group B: individuals without previous Pilates experience and/or physically inactive (NPE-LPA, n=12). Both groups participated in two 55-minute Pilates sessions per week for six weeks. In addition, all subjects performed a 10-min home programme twice a week in between sessions. Augmentation index (AI; %), peripheral (pSys and pDia; mmHg) and central blood pressures (cSys and cDia; mmHg) were recorded using a vascular testing device. Trunk flexibility index was calculated by adding the scores from a trunk flexion (sit-and-reach test) and a trunk extension test. All measurements were conducted at baseline and immediately after the six week intervention. RESULTS: In the PEPA group, there were reductions in all blood pressures post-intervention (pSys: 106 ± 7 mmHg v 102 ± 6 mmHg; p=0.011; pDia: 68 ± 6 mmHg v 65 ± 4 mmHg, p=0.015; cSys: 100 ± 9 mmHg v 95 ± 7 mmHg; p=0.016; cDia: 69 ± 6 mmHg v 67 ± 4; p=0.029). In the NPE-LPA group, significant decreases were noted post-intervention in AI (pre: 81 ± 46% and post: 59 ± 33%; p=0.014) and cSys (pre: 103 ± 13 mmHg and post: 99 ± 9 mmHg; p=0.049). Significant decreases in trunk flexibility were observed in both the PEPA (89.3 ± 17 cm v 95.4 ± 16.1 cm; p=0.001) and NPE-LPA group (70 ± 24.2 cm v 76.5 ± 20.2 cm; p=0.026). A link between poor trunk flexibility and arterial stiffness was observed, but was not statistically significant (p>0.05). CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that Pilates is effective for reducing arterial stiffness and/or maintaining the elastic properties of the arteries. The exact mechanisms could not be associated with increases in flexibility in this study. It might be that increases in muscle strength play a role, however further research is needed to acsertain this relationship.
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