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J Occup Rehabil. 2001 Dec;11(4):291-8.

Training to reduce postural sway and increase functional reach in the elderly.

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Center for Physical Activity and Aging, Department of Kinesiology and Sport Studies, 110 Heskett Center, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas 67260-0016, USA.


Poor balance is one of the most common risk factors for falling, a common cause of work-related injury and death. To evaluate the effects of a 10-week intervention program on balance in older adults, 12 participants aged 61-77 years (age = 70.4 +/- 5.4 years; mean +/- SD) completed an exercise program (60 min, 2 days.week-1 for 10 weeks) performed while laying/sitting on large air-filled exercise balls (Thera-Band). Several postural sway composite scores (determined while standing with feet apart and semitandem, eyes open and closed) improved (p < or = 0.05) including medial-lateral amplitude and speed of sway (reduced by approximately 9%), and instantaneous speed (reduced by approximately 13%). Reductions in XY area approached (p = 0.06) statistical significance and anterior-posterior amplitude and speed of sway did not change. Functional reach also improved (20.3%). These results suggest that challenging the physiological systems involved in balance control while on the nonstable support surface of the exercise balls improves both static and dynamic balance in older adults and may reduce the risk for falling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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