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Effects of a Short-term Dynamic Balance Training Program in Healthy Older Women

Bellew, James W. EdD, PT1; Fenter, Paula Click DHSc, PT, GCS2; Chelette, Bryan MPT3; Moore, Rebecca MPT3; Loreno, Daniel SPT4

Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy: April 2005 - Volume 30 - Issue 1 - p 4–8
Articles

Purpose: Aging is associated with deterioration of the physiologic systems controlling balance. Consequently, a multitude of intervention trials has appeared in the last 2 decades attempting to improve control of balance. Effective programs often require substantial and frequent time commitments, expensive and specialized equipment, professional assistance, and clinical settings. This investigation reports the effects of a simple, short-term balance training program on dynamic balance in healthy older women.

Methods: Subjects included 11 healthy women (75.6 ± 6.4 years) who participated in biweekly, 15-minute balance training sessions for 5 weeks, and 10 age-matched women (71.2 ± 9.1 years) who served as controls. Balance training involved medial-lateral and anterior-posterior movements and bilateral partial squats while standing on semi-compressible foam roller-devices. Dynamic balance was quantified using functional reach in the forward, left, and right directions, and a lower extremity reach test.

Results: Significant increases were observed in the balance trained group: 25% in functional reach right (P = 0.014) and left (P < 0.001) and 16% in lower extremity reach (P = 0.001). No change was noted in the control group.

Conclusions: Improvements in dynamic balance can be realized following 5 weeks of dynamic balance training using this novel, simplistic, and short-term protocol.

1Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Program in Physical Therapy, School of Allied Health Professions, Shreveport, LA

2Associate Professor, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Program in Physical Therapy, School of Allied Health Professions, Shreveport, LA

3Students in the Program in Physical Therapy, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA

4Presently a student in the Program in Physical Therapy, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA

Address correspondence to: James W. Bellew, PT, EdD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Program in Physical Therapy, School of Allied Health Professions, 1501 Kings Highway, P.O. Box 33932, Shreveport, LA 71130 Ph: 318-675-6821, Fax: 318-675-4208 (jbelle@lsuhsc.edu).

DISCLOSURE All balance training equipment used in this study was provided by an equipment grant from Springboard Orthopedics, Mt Sterling, KY.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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