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Gait Posture. 2006 Dec;24(4):459-66. Epub 2006 Feb 2.

Training induced adaptations in characteristics of postural reflexes in elderly men.

Author information

1
Department of Sport and Sport Science, University of Freiburg, Germany. urs.granacher@sport.uni-freiburg.de

Abstract

The aging neuromuscular system is affected by structural and functional changes which lead to a general slowing down of neuromuscular performance and an increased risk of falling. The impact of heavy resistance (HR) training in the elderly on maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) and rate of force development (RFD) has been investigated in the past. However, the influence of sensorimotor (SENSO) training and HR training on the ability to compensate for gait perturbations has not yet been investigated in the elderly. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to examine the impact of HR and SENSO training in elderly men on unexpected treadmill perturbations. Functional reflex activity was recorded by means of surface EMG in 40 male subjects (>60 years) before and after 13 weeks of HR and SENSO training and in another 20 male subjects (>60 years), which served as a CONTROL-group. SENSO training resulted in a decrease in onset latency, an enhanced reflex activity in the prime mover as well as a decrease in maximal angular velocity of the ankle joint complex during the perturbation impulses. No significant changes were observed in the HR- and in the CONTROL-group. The results clearly indicate that SENSO training has an impact on spinal motor control mechanisms in the elderly. Training induced improvements in perception and procession of afferent information could be a possible reason for the increase in reflex contraction. Due to these adaptive processes, SENSO training could be a well-suited method for fall preventive programs in elderly people.

PMID:
16472525
DOI:
10.1016/j.gaitpost.2005.12.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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