By Jenny Good
Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, June/July 2006.
A recent study by the American Council on Exercise evaluated the cardiovascular impact of Pilates. Noteworthy for its stretching, strengthening, and muscle-building attributes, Pilates appears to fall short in calorie-burning and aerobic benefits.
The study involved fifteen healthy 18–26 year-old women, all trained in Pilates at the intermediate level or higher. The participants performed a variety of mat routines, during which their heart rates and oxygen consumption were evaluated. Though the Pilates routines required a high level of exertion of the core muscles, the exercise did not boost the maximal heart rate to levels ideal for aerobic response.
While Pilates is a worthwhile form of exercise for strength and stability, its shortcomings suggest it is most beneficial when paired with aerobic exercise. For details of the study, visit www.acefitness.org/ getfit/PilatesStudy2006.pdf.