A Musculoskeletal Care study is the first to investigate individual perceptions of the impact of a Pilates exercise program on the daily lives of people with chronic conditions.
In the study of 15 women and seven men with a range of chronic musculoskeletal conditions—including nonspecific low back pain, peripheral joint osteoarthritis and a range of postsurgical conditions—and an age range of 36 to 83 years, data were collected via digital recordings of four focus groups in three North‐West of England physiotherapy clinics.
The perceived benefits of Pilates aligned with previous work in relation to physical benefits; however, the study revealed additional benefits, such as an increased active lifestyle, psychosocial benefits, and the ability to manage patients' own condition more effectively, with the net result being a holistic improvement in physical and mental health and positive consequences for social aspects of their lives.
"The study was unique in that it investigated individual perceptions of the impact of Pilates on the daily lives of people with a myriad of chronic musculoskeletal conditions. The Pilates based exercise programme was a facilitator to enable the participants to function better and manage their condition more effectively and independently," said co-author Lynne Gaskell, of the University of Salford, in the UK. "Improving function in meaningful daily activities produced psychological and social benefits that increased motivation to adhere to the program and promote a healthier lifestyle."