The Pilates Method in Physical Education. School Health Intervention Programme: Quality of Life, Physical Fitness and Postural Attitude of Secondary School Students in Cantabria

Rosa Blanco Martínez

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Abstract

This study sought to determine the effects of an intervention based on the Pilates method in secondary school students in Cantabria, and more specifically: a) to analyze the effects of the Pilates method (PM) programme on the health and quality of life of the students; b) to analyze these effects on their physical fitness; and c) to analyze these effects on their postural attitude.
The research had two phases: 1) a quasi-experimental pilot study in which the PM programme (teaching unit, TU, of Pilates for 8 sessions) was applied to a group of 57 European secondary school students, and 2) another quasi-experimental study in which a school intervention with a PM programme (TU of Pilates for 6 sessions) was held with a sample of 476 secondary school students from Cantabria. In both phases, there was an experimental group (EG) and a control group (CG). The PM programme was led by PE teachers, so a previous theoretical-practical training course on the PM specific to the school Pilates TU was offered to the teachers who participated in the study.
The main results were significant differences found according to sex, as girls showed a lower percentage of practicing physical activity (PA) (p = 0.001), and there were also differences in the number of hours spent practicing PA per week (p = 0.006). After the PM programme, the EG showed significantly higher results compared to the CG in the evaluation of their physical fitness, on the test of abdominal strength (f = 6.329 and p < 0.01) which measures the strength-resistance of the abdominal flexor muscles (AFM), as well as better scores on the front lunge, which measures the flexibility of the iliopsoas, gluteus and ischiosural muscles (FMS). In the assessment of postural attitude (PA), the EG showed better results in the half-leg lift tests, side elevation tests, the Hundred and the Roll-Up (p < 0.01). Regarding the EG, 62% perceived benefits after practicing the PM, with the most highly valued benefits being improved posture, improved flexibility, better relaxation and feeling more physically fit.
In conclusion, the PM intervention led to significant improvements in the physical fitness (AFM and FMS) of the students in the EG, as well as in the postural attitude of the EG. These benefits matched those perceived by the EG after the intervention with the PM. Significant differences were found by gender according to the variable analyzed. No significant improvements were found in the health and quality of life after the PM.

Keywords: adolescents, Fitness and Quality of Life, Physical Education, pilates, Postural Attitude.

ISSN: 2014-0983

Published: January 01, 2018

Date read: November 13, 2014