The ACSM and AHA recommend to do balance exercise in older adults for preventing falls, whereas the evidences of balance exercise are still insufficient.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify the timing when to adopt balance exercises in the earlier or the later phase of 12-week resistance training program for preventing falls in the elderly women.
Method: Twenty one Japanese women (age: 69.0 ± 7.9 yrs, height: 154.5 ± 5.5 cm, weight: 55.5 ± 5.8 kg), who voluntarily participated in this study, completed resistance exercises twice a week for 12 weeks. Ten people out of all the participants performed balance exercises with a stability ball as an adjunct to the resistance exercise from the first to the 8th week (earlier adoption group; EA-G), the others performed the same balance exercise from the 4th week to the 12th week (later adopted group; LA-G). ADL related physical fitness composed of muscular strength and balance coordinating ability was evaluated at the baseline, 4th, 8th and 12th week in this intervention trial.
Result: Improved knee extensor muscle strength was observed at the 12th week in EA-G (pre: 77.2 ± 5.7 J vs. 12th: 89.8 ± 6.0 J, p<0.01), while knee flexor muscle strength improved at the 8th and 12th week in LA-G (pre: 43.3 ± 3.2 J vs. 8th: 57.5 ± 2.9 J, 12th: 55.2 ± 2.2 J, p<0.01 respectively). Only EA-G demonstrated gained FRT at the 12th week (pre: 0.27 ± 0.10 cm/cm vs. 12th: 0.29 ± 0.10 cm/cm, p<0.05). The number of CS-30 increased in both EA-G and LA-G at the 8th and 12th week. (EA-G, pre: 21.9 ± 1.0 times vs. 8th: 28.8 ± 1.1 times, 12th: 30.8 ± 2.0 times, p<0.01 respectively; LA-G, pre: 21.5 ± 1.9 times vs. 8th: 27.2 ± 2.1 times, 12th: 29.0 ± 2.3 times, p<0.01 respectively). The greater effect of earlier application of balance program was confirmed in TUG which could represent comprehensive physical fitness in the elderly. Although in LA-G, improvement was showed only at the 12th week (pre: 5.42 ± 0.25 sec. vs. 12th: 4.64 ± 0.15 sec., p<0.01), improvement was observed at the 4th and 8th in addition to at the 12th week in EA-G (pre: 5.53 ± 0.15 sec. vs. 4th: 4.91 ± 0.13 sec., 8th: 4.61 ± 0.10 sec., 12th: 4.49 ± 0.08 sec., p<0.01 respectively).
CONCLUSION: Earlier adoption of balance exercises in combination with resistance exercises can more effectively improve ADL related comprehensive physical fitness in Japanese elderly women.