This study’s aim was to investigate the effects of Pilates exercise on a mat and balance exercise on an unstable base of support for trunk stability on the balance ability of elderly females. Forty elderly women aged 65 or older were equally assigned to a Pilates mat exercise (PME) group and an unstable support surface exercise (USSE) group. They conducted exercise three times per week for 12 weeks for 40 minutes each time. In order to examine balance, sway length and the speed of the center of foot pressure were measured for one minute, and in order to examine dynamic balance, the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test was conducted. After the intervention, sway length, sway speed, and TUG significantly reduced in both groups. A comparison of sway speed after the intervention between the two groups showed that the PME group showed larger decreases than the USSE group.
PME and USSE produced significant effects on the static and dynamic balance of elderly female subjects, indicating that those exercises are effective at enhancing the balance ability of this group of subjects. However, the Pilates mat exercise is thought to be safer than exercise on an unstable base of support.