Pilates is a gentle exercise that focuses on stretching and strengthening the body to improve balance, muscle strength, flexibility and posture.

Pilates is suitable for people of all ages and all levels of fitness. You can study Pilates one-to-one or in a class. You can also do Pilates at home, though we recommend you learn the moves from a qualified instructor first.

How might Pilates help?

People who practise Pilates claim that it can help with your muscle tone, flexibility, core strength and joint mobility, as well as relieve stress and tension.

There isn’t much evidence to show any specific benefits of Pilates for people with Parkinson’s. An article from 2009 argues that exercise such as Pilates can help with the mobility symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, although no clinical studies have been carried out.

Is Pilates safe?

Pilates is a gentle, low-impact form of exercise. Classes are sometimes separated into beginners and advanced sessions, so make sure you find a class that matches your ability.

The Pilates Foundation recommends that if you are pregnant you should check with your doctor and speak to the Pilates teacher before starting.

Pilates instructors are not regulated by law, so check your teacher is registered with a professional body and is insured.

Useful contacts

  • Pilates classes are available throughout the UK at local leisure and community centres, although these may not be tailored for people with health problems.
  • There may also be Pilates studios in your area.
  • The Pilates Foundation
    This is a not-for-profit organisation, bringing qualified Pilates teachers together. All members are accredited and must follow a strict code of ethics and code of conduct. Contact the organisation to find out more about Pilates and to find a qualified instructor in your area.

Last updated March 2013. We review all our information within 3 years. If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at publications@parkinsons.org.uk.