Posted on Apr 08, 2020, 3 p.m.
A recent study in The American Journal of Hypertension published by Oxford University Press suggests that Pilates may be effective in helping young obese women to improve their cardiovascular health, which is important to this population that is at risk for hypertension and early vascular complications.
On a global scale the prevalence of obesity in young adults has become a serious public health issue, and although it is well documented that exercise is the key to preventing as well as managing cardiovascular health those who are obese tend not to maintain workout routines at all rather they live sedentary lifestyles.
Despite various sources reporting the benefits of Pilates the existing scientific literature on the topic is scarce. In this study obese women between the ages of 19-27 with elevated blood pressure and a BMI between 30-40kg/m2 who were followed as they participated in 12 weeks of mat Pilates. Participants were free from chronic diseases, were non-smokers and participated in less than 90 minutes of regular exercise a week; there were 3 training sessions one hour per week divided into stages of initial warm up/stretch, general mat Pilates exercises, and a cool down. Training increased progressively with the repetition of each exercise steadily increasing and all sessions being supervised by a certified mat Pilates instructor.
The types of Pilates mat exercises emphasized core strength, flexibility, body posture, and controlled breathing; this may be the first study to find mat Pilates routines to significantly reduce arterial stiffness and blood pressure, including central aortic pressure.
"We hypothesized that Mat Pilates might decrease the risk of hypertension in young obese women. Our findings provide evidence that Mat Pilates benefit cardiovascular health by decreasing blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and body fatness in young obese women with elevated blood pressure. Because adherence to traditional exercise (both aerobic and resistance) is low in obese individuals, Mat Pilates Training might prove an effective exercise alternative for the prevention of hypertension and cardiovascular events in young obese adults."
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