Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in adults over 65 years, and are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. Falls often lead to adverse changes in confidence and lifestyle that trigger a cyclical decline in postural control. Decreased fitness is known to negatively affect postural control, especially with increasing task difficulty
PURPOSE: To analyze the impact of a traditional Geri-fit class (fitness) and a Wii exercise program (fitness + cognition) on individual's ability to maintain postural control, with a distracter (Cognitive, Visual and Auditory)
METHODS: 45 community dwelling seniors were randomized into 1 of 3 groups (Control, Wii, Geri-fit). Interventions were delivered 3 times per week, for 15 weeks
RESULTS: A significant improvement in SOT equilibrium score was seen over time (p = 0.007), the pre-test SOT was 38.8 ± 25.0 and the post-test score was 51.1 ± 17.2. There was a significant training group by time interaction for 6 min walk, p = 0.14, effect size =.776. There was a significant pre-test (7.2 ± 1.4) post-test (6.7 ± 1.4) comparison for 8 ft Up and Go, p = 0.017. There was a significant interaction between training groups and time (p = 0.010) for chair stands. The Wii group performed significantly more chair stands on the post-test (14.4 ± 5.2) when compared to the pre-test (10.0 ± 4.2), and the Geri-Fit group also performed significantly more chair stands on the post-test (14.1 ± 5.4) when compared to the pre-test (10.4 ± 4.4). There was a significant difference between pre-test (16.6 ± 3.9) and post-test curls (18.6 ± 3.8), p = 0.022. There was a significant difference in SOT equilibrium scores between the divided attention conditions (p = 0.000). Post hoc tests revealed that equilibrium in non-divided attention condition (40.3 ± 20.9) and Stroop (38.1 ± 20.9) was significantly less than both the visual DA (51.9 ± 20.2) and auditory DA (49.3 ± 21.1) conditions. There were no differences between the groups (p = 0.686).
CONCLUSION: Results indicated that both intervention programs were successful at improving postural control and fitness. Current data did not elucidate a difference in differed attention postural control between groups, however it did find that cognitive tasks were more difficult than visual and auditory distracters during postural control assessment.