Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

Mat pilates beneficial for prevention and management of hypertension

Martins-Meneses DT et al., Int J Cardiol. 2014

Mat Pilates training reduced clinical and ambulatory blood pressure in hypertensive women using antihypertensive medications

Martins-Meneses DT, Antunes HK, de Oliveira NR, et al.
Int J Cardiol. 2014 Nov 6;179C:262-268


Exercise training is a non-drug intervention to reduce systemic arterial hypertension (SAH), in order to lower cardiovascular (CV) risk. Both aerobic and resistance exercises are beneficial for hypertensive subjects, by lowering blood pressure (BP), among other effects.
Mat pilates (MP) is a resistance exercise. To date, no studies have evaluated the effect of MP on BP in hypertensive individuals. Although improvements to the CV system when performing MP exercises are claimed, there is no consensus in scientific literature about the existence of such benefits. This study therefore evaluated the effect of MP on BP in 44 hypertensive women, who were treated for their hypertension. The women had not been engaged in exercise training for at least 6 months. The trained group (TG, n=22) participated in 60 minutes of MP training for 16 weeks, twice a week, following the 7 principles of MP: concentration, control, centering, fluid movement, precision, axial alignment and breathing.

Main results

  • Significant improvements were seen in TG with regard to height (post: 162.7+6.0 vs. pre: 161.9+6.0), waist (89.9+13.2 vs. 93.2+13.5) and hip circumferences (107.9+10.1 vs. 110.8+11.0) when comparing pre- and post-experimental periods, and these variables were significantly better in TG than in the control group (CG).
  • TG also showed a significant improvement in flexibility, right hand strength and left hand strength, while the control group did not show improvements in the physical tests between pre- and post-experimental periods.
  • Double product (DP) variable was estimated by multiplying systolic BP by heart rate (HR). DP was significantly reduced in TG, as well as systolic (118.5+10.3 post- vs. 125.6+18.3 mmHg), diastolic (74.9+9.4 vs. 78.2+14.2 mmHg) and mean BP at rest (92.4+9.7 vs. 97.2+15.9 mmHg), when compared with pre- and post-experimental period in CG.
  • HR at rest was significantly increased in CG after the experimental period, while it had not changed in the TG.
  • Ambulatory systolic, diastolic and mean BP during 24h (awake and asleep) were reduced in TG, as compared to pre-experimental data and as compared with CG, while HR and DP did not change significantly.


Mat pilates training yields a significant decrease in clinical systolic, diastolic and mean BP at rest and over 24 hours, in hypertensive women. In addition, MP lowered waist and hip circumferences and increased height, flexibility and strength in these women. Thus, mat pilates may be recommended as a non-drug intervention for the prevention, treatment and control of hypertension.
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