Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


Objective: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not Pilates-based exercise is effective in improving balance in healthy adults over the age of 18.

Study Design: Review of three English language randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in 2006, 2009 and 2012.

Data Sources: Three non-blind randomized controlled trials published in peer reviewed journals found via PubMed.

Outcome(s) Measured: Efficacy was measured with the experimental group participating in a predetermined number of Pilates classes and the control group refraining from any exercise or continuing their pre-study, non-Pilates exercise routines. Change in balance was measured using a four square step test, timed up and go test, functional reach test or the Tinetti scoring system.

Results: Pilates is a useful tool that can be incorporated into the multidisciplinary effort to improve balance in otherwise healthy adults. The three RCTs in this review prove that Pilatesbased exercises improve balance compared to baselines. Bird et al found significant longitudinal changes for the timed up and go test (p < 0.001) and the four square step test (p = 0.001). Johnson et al found significant longitudinal changes in the experimental group (p = 0.01), but not in the control group (p = 0.54). Rodrigues et al also found a significant improvement in the experimental group (p = 0.009) and no improvement in the control group (p = 0.084).

Conclusion: Pilates-based exercise significantly improves balance in healthy adults when compared to their pre-study baselines. Future studies need to look at the consequential change in the risk of falling secondary to the improvement in balance.

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