Mat Pilates training confers benefits for vascular function, body fat in women with elevated BP
Young obese women with elevated blood pressure (BP) levels may benefit from mat Pilates training (MPT), which has been shown in a recent study to improve systemic arterial stiffness, aortic BP and wave reflection, as well as reduce body fat.
Twenty-eight women aged 19–27 years with body mass index (BMI) of 30–40 kg/m2 and elevated BP (120–129 mm Hg systolic BP [SBP] and ˂80 mm Hg diastolic BP [DBP]) levels were randomly assigned to an MPT intervention (n=14) or a nonexercising control (n=14) group for 12 weeks. The participants were free of chronic diseases at baseline. The participants were also nonsmokers and sedentary (˂90 minutes per week of regular exercise for the past 6 months).
The MPT group participated in three 1-hour supervised training sessions per weeks. Each session consisted of an initial warm up and stretching (10 minutes), general conditioning exercises (40 minutes), and stretching and cooling down (10 minutes).
Compared with control, MPT produced significant improvements in systemic arterial stiffness (mean difference [MD] in brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, −0.7 m/s), brachial systolic BP (MD, −5 mm Hg), aortic systolic BP (MD, −6 mm Hg), wave reflection (MD in augmentation index, –4 percent) at week 12.
MPT also led to a substantial decrease in body fat percentage (MD, –2 percent) while increasing plasma nitric oxide levels (MD, 6 µM).
The present data suggest that Pilates is a valuable form of exercise training for improving vascular function and reducing body fat in a population at risk for hypertension and early vascular complications, researchers said.