The effect of an eight-week Pilates exercise regimen on stress management and cortisol levels in sedentary women

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 MS in exercise physiology; Department of exercise physiology, Marvdasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Marvdasht, Iran

2 MS in exercise physiology; Department of exercise physiology, Shiraz Applied University, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract

Introduction: The aim of the present study is to examine the effect of eight weeks of Pilates exercise on stress management and cortisol levels in sedentary women.
Material & Methods: Twenty-two sedentary women aged between 25 and 40 years old participated in this study. The subjects were randomly divided into the Pilates group (n=11) or the control group (n=11). The subjects in the Pilates group performed 60 minutes of Pilates exercise 3 times a week for 8 weeks. Body composition parameters, resting heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), cortisol levels and perceived stress were measured before and after the intervention.
Results: The results showed that body fat percentage, cortisol levels, and perceived stress score were reduced after Pilates exercise (p <0.05); however for resting HR, systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) no significant changes were observed.
Conclusions: In summary, the results suggest that the Pilates exercise utilized in this study is a useful strategy for stress management in sedentary women.

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