(HealthDay News) – Pilates exercises may be a beneficial adjunctive treatment for patients with heart failure, offering functional capacity improvements, according to a study published in the December issue of Cardiovascular Therapeutics.

To examine the efficacy of Pilates in patients with heart failure, Guilherme Veiga Guimarães, MD, of the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues conducted a study involving 16 patients with New York Heart Association Class I or II heart failure who were randomly assigned to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise followed by 20 minutes of either mat Pilates training or a conventional cardiac rehabilitation program for 16 weeks.

At 16 weeks, the researchers found that patients in both groups showed a significant increase in exercise time, with a larger increase for the Pilates group (11.9±2.5 to 17.8±4 minutes and 11.7±3.9 to 14.2±4 minutes, respectively). Only the Pilates training exhibited significant increases from baseline in ventilation, peak oxygen consumption (VO2), and O2 pulse. Compared with the conventional group, peak VO2 was significantly improved in the Pilates group.

“The results of this study demonstrate the feasibility of a combined aerobic training and mat Pilates method by its safe and functional capacity improvements in patients with heart failure,” the authors write.

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