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What is Postural Balance, and the Role of Pilates

Would you like to improve your balance? Did you know balance may come in two parts or how to train in a way that improves balance? A new systematic review and meta-analysis concludes that Pilates has high practical effects on improving postural balance, even among healthy older adults

It has been well established that Pilates improves dynamic balance, (2) but the current analysis offers new confirmation across several studies and hundreds of participants that Pilates also improves postural balance.

Define Postural and Dynamic Balance

Postural balance means the ability to stand still without swaying or undue exertion. Dynamic balance refers to the ability to maintain or regain a stable position during movements or in response to perturbations. (3) “Balance” serves as an umbrella term for both postural and dynamic balance. The two can progress separately. Research among stroke patients shows that improving postural sway does not necessarily translate into improvements in dynamic balance. (4) Similarly, another study found there is not a strong correlation between posture and postural balance. (5) Interestingly, postural balance is a separate entity from both posture and dynamic balance.

The Importance of Postural Balance

As you might imagine, postural balance (as measured by postural sway) is independently associated with reduced risk of injury both in retirement and in athletics. What’s more, a study among footballers shows that better postural balance correlates with increased ability to perform technical skills under rival pressure and suddenly changing conditions. (6)   

The Role of Pilates in Postural Balance

The current meta-analysis finds that Pilates not only improves postural balance, but that it improves it rather quickly, and that the effects are enduring even if Pilates is discontinued. In fact, in the event of exercise discontinuation, even after the strength effects dissipate, the postural balance improvements persist. It’s commonly suggested that the flexibility and core strengthening aspects of Pilates contribute to its balance-enhancing effects. On the other hand, the persistence of postural balance improvements past the lasting effects of strength improvements suggests a strong neural adaptation component as well. 


  1. Casonatto J, Yamacita CM. Pilates exercise and postural balance in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2020 Jan 1; 48: 102232.
  2. Moreno-Segura N, Igual-Camacho C, Ballester-Gil Y, Blasco-Igual MC, Blasco JM. The effects of the pilates training method on balance and falls of older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. 2018 Apr 1; 26 (2): 327-44.
  3. Hrysomallis C. Balance ability and athletic performance. Sports Medicine. 2011 Mar 1; 41 (3): 221-32.
  4. Cho K, Lee K, Lee B, Lee H, Lee W. Relationship between postural sway and dynamic balance in stroke patients. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2014; 26 (12): 1989-92.
  5. Ludwig O. Interrelationship between postural balance and body posture in children and adolescents. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2017; 29 (7): 1154-8.
  6. Edis Ç, Vural F, Vurgun H. The importance of postural control in relation to technical abilities in small-sided soccer games. Journal of Human Kinetics. 2016 Dec 1; 53 (1): 51-61.



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