Effect of a Home Exercise Program on Dynamic Balance in Elderly With a History of Falls

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Objective:

To determine exercise efficacy in improving dynamic balance in community-dwelling elderly with a fall history.

Methods:

Thirty-five participants were randomly assigned to a treatment (TG; n = 19, 77 ± 7 yr) or control group (CG; n = 16, 75 ± 8 yr). The TG received an individualized home exercise program, and the CG received phone calls twice per week for 12 weeks. Participants’ dynamic-balance abilities— directional control (DC), endpoint excursion (EE), maximum excursion (ME), reaction time (RT), and movement velocity (MV)—were measured using the Balance Master at 75% limits of stability. Functional reach (FR) was also measured.

Results:

At 12 weeks the TG demonstrated significant improvements in DC (p < .0025), EE (p < .0005), and ME (p < .0005), but the CG did not. No significant group differences were found for MV, RT, or FR.

Conclusions:

Excursion distances and directional control improved but not reaction time, suggesting that exercises requiring quick responses may be needed.

Olson and Chen are with the School of Physical Therapy, Texas Woman’s University, Houston, TX. Wang is with the School of Physical Therapy and Center for Education and Research on Geriatrics and Gerontology, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.