April 1 (UPI) – A new study has determined that Pilates can significantly improve blood pressure in young, obese women.
Women who perform 90 minutes of Mat Pilates weekly observed a drop in blood pressure of up to six points and experienced a decrease in their percentage of body fat, according to the results of the study published Wednesday in the American Journal of Hypertension.
Mat Pilates is a popular fitness regimen, with around 9 million participants in 2018, that emphasizes core strength, flexibility, body posture, and controlled breathing.
“Our findings provide evidence that Mat Pilates benefits cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure, blood stiffness, and fat in obese young women with elevated blood pressure,” the authors said in a press release.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40 percent of American adults are considered obese. The prevalence of severe obesity is more than 9 percent among women, according to agency estimates.
Meanwhile, the prevalence of obesity in young adults has become a major public health problem. Although it is well documented that exercise is a key factor in preventing and controlling cardiovascular health problems, obese women tend not to stick to traditional training routines, research has shown.
For the current study, the researchers looked at young obese women ages 19-29 who had high blood pressure, but were otherwise healthy and nonsmoking, and with a body mass index of 30 to 40 kilograms per meter. square. The body mass index is a commonly used measure for obesity that measures a person’s weight against their height, in meters.
All study participants reported exercising less than 90 minutes per week before the start of the project.
In total, 14 of the 28 study participants participated in 12 weeks of Mat Pilates. There were three one-hour training sessions per week, which were divided into the following stages: initial warm-up and stretching for 10 minutes; Mat Pilates exercises for 40 minutes; and a 10 minute cool down period. Training increased over the 12 weeks, with the repetition of each exercise steadily increasing, with a certified Pilates instructor who supervised all sessions.
Compared to those who did not participate, people who did Mat Pilates experienced reductions in brachial systolic blood pressure, by five points, and aortic systolic blood pressure, by six points. Their body fat percentages also decreased an average of 2 percent over the 12-week period.
“Because traditional exercise practice, both aerobic and endurance, is low in obese people, Mat Pilates training could be an effective exercise alternative for the prevention of hypertension and cardiovascular events in obese young adults,” they wrote. the authors.