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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012 Aug;67(8):882-9. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glr252. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

Effects of balance training on muscle coactivation during postural control in older adults: a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
Kyoto University, 53 Kawahara-cho, Shogoin, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan. k.nagai@ky2.ecs.kyoto-u.ac.jp

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recently, several studies have reported age-associated increases in muscle coactivation during postural control. A rigid posture induced by strong muscle coactivation reduces the degree of freedom to be organized by the postural control system. The purpose of this study was to clarify the effect of balance training on muscle coactivation during postural control in older adults.

METHODS:

Forty-eight subjects were randomized into an intervention (mean age: 81.0 ± 6.9 years) and a control group (mean age: 81.6 ± 6.4 years). The control group did not receive any intervention. Postural control ability (postural sway during quiet standing, functional reach, and functional stability boundary) was assessed before and after the intervention. A cocontraction index was measured during the postural control tasks to assess muscle coactivation.

RESULTS:

Cocontraction index values in the intervention group significantly decreased following the intervention phase for functional reach (p < .0125). Cocontraction index values had a tendency to decrease during functional stability boundary for forward and quiet standing tasks. Functional improvements were observed in some of the tasks after the intervention, that is, functional reach, functional stability boundary for forward, one-leg stance, and timed up and go (p < .05).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study raised the possibility that balance training for older adults was associated with decreases in muscle coactivation during postural control. Postural control exercise could potentially lead older adults to develop more efficient postural control strategies without increasing muscle coactivation. Further research is needed to clarify in greater detail the effects of changes in muscle coactivation.

PMID:
22389467
DOI:
10.1093/gerona/glr252
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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