This study evaluated a balance-training program’s influence in healthy older adults. Fifteen community-dwelling participants aged 70–75 years were randomized to an exercise group, and 15 gender- and age-matched participants, to a control group. The 9-week training program comprised ordinary-life balance, vestibular-habituation, and ball exercises and station training. Clinical balance tests were conducted before and after training. Tests that showed significant improvement in the exercise group after the intervention included standing on the right leg with eyes closed, standing on the right leg and the left leg while turning the head and walking 30 m. Significant between-group differences were found at posttest. A significant decrease was seen in the control group in the walking-forward test, and this change was significantly different between groups. The study indicates that balance performance in healthy older adults might be improved by balance training including exercises that stimulate multiple sensory systems and their central integration.
Grahn Kronhed is with the Primary Health Care Center, Vadstena, SE-592 32 Vadstena, Sweden, and the Division of Preventive and Social Medicine and Health Science, Department of Health and Environment, Faculty of Health Sciences, at Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden. C. Möller is with the Department of Audiology at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden. Olsson is with the Treklöverhemmet Rehabilitation Center, Ljungskile, Sweden. M. Möller is with the Department of Research and Development at Varberg Hospital, Varberg, Sweden, and the Department of Neuro-science and Locomotion, Faculty of Health Sciences, at Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden.