Pilates lowers fall risk for people with multiple sclerosis

A new study has found that regular Pilates practice can improve balance and posture in men with multiple sclerosis (MS) which helps lessen the risk of falls and injuries.

Researchers in Iran enrolled 30 men in a trial and assigned them randomly to either Pilates training three times a week for 12 weeks, or to a no-exercise control group.

The exercise sessions were 60 minutes in length and focused on abdominal strengthening, spinal extension, postural correction and core stabilisation.

All participants had disabilities with an average mean score on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), which quantifies disability on a scale ranging from one (no disability) to 10 (severe disability leading to death).

The results of the training were measured in three ways – the Timed up and Go (TUG), which measures how long it takes a person to stand up from a chair, walk three meters, turn around and sit down again, the Berg’s Balance Scale (BBS) which measures posture control using exercises such as standing up on a chair, or standing with closed eyes. Finally, they used the Functional Research Test (FRT) which measures how far a person can reach forward when standing in a fixed position.

All the men in the Pilates group showed significant improvements for all three tests over the course of three months. The control group showed no improvements or a worsening in scores.

The study concluded that regular Pilates reduces risk factors for falls in people with MS and can therefore could be considered as a complementary therapeutic approach for physical therapists.