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Mulherkar, Shalaka (Ed.)Increasing balance confidence in older individuals is important towards improving their quality of life and reducing activity avoidance. Here, we investigated if balance confidence (perceived ability) and balance performance (ability) in older adults were related to one another and would improve after balance training. The relationship of balance confidence in conjunction with balance performance for varied conditions (such as limiting vision, modifying somatosensory cues, and also base of support) was explored. We sought to determine if balance confidence and ability, as well as their relationship, could change after several weeks of training. Twenty-seven healthy participants were trained for several weeks during standing and walking exercises. In addition, seven participants with a higher risk of imbalance leading to falls (survivors of stroke) were also trained. Prior to and after training, balance ability and confidence were assessed via the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) and Activities Specific Balance Confidence (ABC) Scale, respectively. Both groups showed improvements in balance abilities (i.e., BESS errors significantly decreased after training). Balance confidence was significantly higher in the healthy group than in the stroke group; however, ABC results reflected that balance confidence did not significantly increase after training for each. The correlations between balance ability and balancemore »
With the massive growth of the aging population worldwide, of utmost importance is reducing falls. Critical to reducing fall risk is one's ability to weight incoming sensory information towards maintaining balance. The purpose of this research was to investigate if simple, targeted sensory training on aging individuals (50 - 80 years old), including twelve healthy and eight individuals with chronic stroke, could improve their balance. Repeated sensory training targeted visual (via eyes-open/closed) and somatosensory inputs (via light touch to the fingertip as well as hard, soft foam, and hard foam support surfaces to the feet) during standing and dynamic base-of-support (BOS) exercises. Study participants underwent six weeks of training. Prior to and post training, standing balance was assessed via a simple, clinical measure: the balance error scoring system (BESS). Following several weeks of training, participants showed significant improvements in BESS errors: healthy participants for small BOS with limited somatosensory information (i.e., tandem and single-leg standing on foam) and participants with stroke in all conditions.Clinical Relevance- This research study demonstrated that simple, accessible exercises, can positively impact balance in the aging population, a pressing need.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of utilizing sensory (i.e., vision and touch), as well as static and dynamic base of support training on the balance of senior participants aged 60–80 years old. For each participant, there were several weeks of training, two sessions per week and assessments every two weeks. Training included walking and standing exercises on a hard surface, compliant and stiffer foam walking and standing balance training, and navigating obstacles. Within each session, to modify vision, all training included eyes-open and closed. Further, there were increases in training difficulty as the sessions progressed.
It was observed that training over several weeks resulted in increases in stability, as observed by the decreases in Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) assessment results. However, increases in balance confidence, as observed by the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale were less certain in this healthy elderly (or senior) population. It is an interesting and positive finding that, in doing relatively simple, but targeted exercises and training, senior individuals can have moderate improvements in their balance and, perhaps ultimately, reduce their fall-risk.
Epidemiological studies link increased fall risk to obesity in older adults, but the mechanism through which obesity increases falls and fall risks is unknown. This study investigates if obesity (Body Mass Index: BMI>30 kg/m2) influenced gait and standing postural characteristics of community dwelling older adults leading to increased risk of falls. One hundred healthy older adults (age 74.0±7.6 years, range of 56-90 years) living independently in a community participated in this study. Participants' history of falls over the previous two years was recorded, with emphasis on frequency and characteristics of falls. Participants with at least two falls in the prior year were classified as fallers. Each individual was assessed for postural stability during quiet stance and gait stability during 10 meters walking. Fall risk parameters of postural sway (COP area, velocity, path-length) were measured utilizing a standard forceplate coupled with an accelerometer affixed at the sternum. Additionally, parameters of gait stability (walking velocity, double support time, and double support time variability) were assessed utilizing an accelerometer affixed at the participant's sternum. Gait and postural stability analyses indicate that obese older adults who fell have significantly altered gait pattern (longer double support time and greater variability) exhibiting a loss of automaticitymore »
Abstract Background To compare the performance (as determined by lower extremity kinematics) of knee exercises in healthy middle-aged and older individuals immediately after instruction and one week later. Methods This is a cross-sectional study in a laboratory setting. Nineteen healthy volunteers (age [y] 63.1 ± 8.6, mass [kg] 76.3 ± 14.7, height [m] 1.7 ± 0.1) participated in this study. High speed video and reflective markers were used to track motion during four exercises. The exercises were knee flexion, straight leg raise, and “V “in supine position, and hip abduction in side lying position. All participants received verbal and tactile cues during the training phase and the therapist observed and, if necessary, corrected the exercises. Upon return a week later the participants performed the same exercises without any further instructions. Knee and hip sagittal and rotational angles were extracted from the motion capture. A repeated measures t-test was used to compare the motions between two visits. Results Participants demonstrated more knee flexion during straight leg raise and “V in” exercises at the 2nd visit compared to the 1st visit (both p < 0.05). During the “V out” exercise, they performed more external rotation ( p < 0.05) while they showed more internal rotation during the “V in” exercisemore »