A Polar (www.polar.fi) heart rate monitor (belt and watch) is used to measure heart rate continuously. A transmitter belt is fastened around the chest while the watch is held by a nearby observer. If at any time during the experiment the heart rate exceeds the predetermined ceiling (85% of age-predicted max heart rate) the experiment should be stopped immediately.

Degenhardt B [Internet]. Once upon a time: the evolution of Pilates mat work. 2012 Nov 21 [cited 2015 Aug 30]. Available from: http://benjamindegenhardt.com/once-upon-a-time/.  Pilates swiftly gained prominence with dancers and celebrities, which led to his notoriety as a New York City exercise personality. In 1932, Pilates taught Contrology exercises at the mythological Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival as he did every summer until 1951.42,43 Degenhardt B [Internet]. Once upon a time: the evolution of Pilates mat work. 2012 Nov 21 [cited 2015 Aug 30]. Available from: http://benjamindegenhardt.com/once-upon-a-time/.

Physical exercise is important for maintaining physical fitness and can contribute to maintaining a healthy weight, regulating digestive health, building and maintaining healthy bone density, muscle strength, and joint mobility, promoting physiological well-being, reducing surgical risks, and strengthening the immune system. Some studies indicate that exercise may increase life expectancy and the overall quality of life.[10] People who participate in moderate to high levels of physical exercise have a lower mortality rate compared to individuals who by comparison are not physically active.[11] Moderate levels of exercise have been correlated with preventing aging by reducing inflammatory potential.[12] The majority of the benefits from exercise are achieved with around 3500 metabolic equivalent (MET) minutes per week.[13] For example, climbing stairs 10 minutes, vacuuming 15 minutes, gardening 20 minutes, running 20 minutes, and walking or bicycling for transportation 25 minutes on a daily basis would together achieve about 3000 MET minutes a week.[13] A lack of physical activity causes approximately 6% of the burden of disease from coronary heart disease, 7% of type 2 diabetes, 10% of breast cancer and 10% of colon cancer worldwide.[14] Overall, physical inactivity causes 9% of premature mortality worldwide.[14]

SOURCES: Liz Neporent, video creator; president, Wellness 360 corporate wellness consulting firm, New York. Wendy Glenna, American Council on Exercise-certified fitness instructor; physical education teacher; fitness video reviewer, Collage Video, Minneapolis, Minn. Paula Zurowski, ACE-certified personal trainer; fitness video reviewer, Richmond, Calif.

1) The biggest critique I have is that transitions from poses are too aggressive and, in many cases, FAR too quick. This could very easily result in stabilizer injury with those healing from core, back, spine or neck injuries or those who don't have the best core strength to begin with. The example that comes to mind is in the 'Sweat" workout. The rapid change from low lunge into a one-foot balanced runner caused an injury for me the first week, and just again today after 6 weeks. If you have ANY history of car crash with spinal involvement, low back problems, abdominal surgery, or core weakness, you MUST listen to your body carefully during these workouts. The modifications are helpful, but they simply decrease the impact of the position once you are in them. The quick transitions in PiYO keep heart rates up, but they also jeopardize the safety of joints or muscles that are a) fatigued from participating and b) unstable due to weakness. Adapt and SLOW DOWN when needed. Better to do 2 sets safely than 4 sets and getting hurt.

With the right stimuli, bone density improves as well, says women’s health expert Belinda Beck, MD, an Arizona-based OB-GYN and researcher. In a recent study she conducted on postmenopausal women, Beck found that “even women with very low bone mass could tolerate the high loading required to increase bone mineral density as long as it was introduced gradually with close attention to technique.”

It is well known that exercise in the older population may prevent several diseases [1–4]. Reduced physical activity impairs the quality of life in elderly people with Alzheimer's Disease [4], Parkinson's Disease [5], and Depressive Disorders [6]. Moreover, musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, and cerebrovascular decline are associated with poor physical fitness because of the cumulative effects of illness, multiple drug intake, fatigue, and bed rest [7, 8]. The effects of physical activity and exercise programs on fitness and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in elderly adults have been widely studied by several authors [9–11]. De Vries et al. [11] conducted a meta-analysis focusing on elderly patients with mobility problems and/or multimorbidity. Eighteen articles describing a wide variety of actions were analyzed. Most used a multicomponent training program focusing on the combination of strength, balance, and endurance training. In 9 of the 18 studies included, interventions were supervised by a physical therapist. Intensity of the intervention was not reported and the duration of the intervention varied from 5 weeks to 18 months. This meta-analysis concluded that, considering quality of life, the exercise versus no-exercise studies found no significant effects. High-intensity exercise appears to be somewhat more effective in improving physical functioning than low-intensity exercise. These positive effects are of great value in the patient population but the most effective type of intervention remains unclear. Brovold et al. [7] recently examined the effects of high-intensity training versus home-based exercise programs using the Norwegian Ullevaal Model [12] on a group of over-65-year-olds after discharge from hospital. These authors based their study on the Swedish Friskis-Svettis model [13] which was designed by Johan Holmsater for patients with coronaropathy to promote their return to work and everyday activities and improve their prognoses. This model includes three intervals of high intensity and two intervals of moderate intensity, each one lasting for 5 to 10 minutes. Included in each is coordination. Exercises consist of simple aerobic dance movements and involve the use of both upper and lower extremities to challenge postural control [13]. Exercise intensity was adjusted using the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale. Moderate intensity was set between 11 and 13, and high intensity was set between 15 and 17 on the Borg Scale.