Does balance training improve balance in physically active older adults?

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Maughan, Kristen
Major Professor
Ann Smiley-Oyen
Warren D. Franke
Peter Martin
Committee Member
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The Department of Kinesiology seeks to provide an ample knowledge of physical activity and active living to students both within and outside of the program; by providing knowledge of the role of movement and physical activity throughout the lifespan, it seeks to improve the lives of all members of the community. Its options for students enrolled in the department include: Athletic Training; Community and Public Health; Exercise Sciences; Pre-Health Professions; and Physical Education Teacher Licensure. The Department of Physical Education was founded in 1974 from the merger of the Department of Physical Education for Men and the Department of Physical Education for Women. In 1981 its name changed to the Department of Physical Education and Leisure Studies. In 1993 its name changed to the Department of Health and Human Performance. In 2007 its name changed to the Department of Kinesiology. Dates of Existence: 1974-present. Historical Names: Department of Physical Education (1974-1981), Department of Physical Education and Leisure Studies (1981-1993), Department of Health and Human Performance (1993-2007). Related Units: College of Human Sciences (parent college), College of Education (parent college, 1974 - 2005), Department of Physical Education for Women (predecessor) Department of Physical Education for Men
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Falls among older adults are a growing public health problem. Previous research suggests that the regular practice of physical activity in older adults improves balance and reduces falls. The objective of this study was to determine whether balance-specific training, in addition to regular physical activity, could improve balance in older adults, and whether there would be a dose-response to frequency of balance training.;A six-week balance-training program was conducted with 60 older adults (60-87 years) who were already participating in a regular program of physical activity. All participants continued with their regular exercise program while adding balance training in one of three doses: three 20-minute balance-training sessions/week (3-Day); one 20-minute balance-training session/week (1-Day); and no additional balance training (Control).;Participants were tested pre-and post-training and a repeated measures ANOVA revealed significant intervention effects of training for (1) single-leg-stance on the left (p=.019) and right (p=.026), (2) limits-of-stability 95% area ellipse (p=.036) and anteroposterior maximum excursion (p=.01), (3) foam eyes closed/foam eyes open mediolateral difference score (p=.008), and 4) a trend toward significance for alternate stepping (p=.053). Both 3-Day and 1-Day groups saw more improvement than controls, with the 3-Day group achieving the greatest improvements overall. The results of this study suggest that physically active older adults who exercise regularly can benefit from the addition of balance training to their current exercise program. Three 20-minute sessions per week led to the greatest improvement; however it appears that even one 20-minute session of balance training per week may lead to improvement of balance.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2008