The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of 16 weeks of self-paced resistance training or walking protocols on neuromotor and functional parameters in active, community-dwelling older adults. Twenty-two sequentially recruited older adults were randomly assigned to one of two exercise groups: self-paced resistance training and self-paced walking. Static and dynamic balance, upper and lower extremity reaction times, muscle strength, and stairclimbing speed were measured before and immediately after 16 weeks of exercise. Preliminary data showed that 16 weeks of self-paced. progressive, lower body resistance training improved balance (one-legged stance with eyes open, 68%). reaction time (10%), muscle strength (160%), and stair climbing speed (28%), while a self-paced walking program improved balance (one-legged stance with eyes open, 51%), stair climbing speed (16%), and in certain circumstances muscle strength (25%), in active, community-dwelling older adults.
Daniel S. Rooks, Bernard J. Ransil, and Wilson C. Hayes
Karen N. White, Katherine B. Gunter, Christine M. Snow, and Wilson C. Hayes
The Quick Step measures reaction time and lateral stepping velocity. Upon a visual cue, participants step to the side as quickly as possible. Instrumentation includes floor pads with pressure-sensitive switches and two timers. In all, 109 older adults who had experienced a recent fall, 46 older adult nonfallers, and 24 young adults volunteered for testing. Reliability for reaction time and stepping velocity was good to excellent (intraclass correlation = 0.69–0.85). Multivariate analysis of variance revealed a significant difference between groups, p < 0.01, but not between stepping directions, p = 0.62–0.72, for both reaction time and stepping velocity. Reaction times were different among the three groups, p < 0.01, with the young adults having the fastest times and the older adult fallers having the slowest times. Lateral stepping velocity was faster among the young adults than for the two older groups, p < 0.01, but did not differ between the older adults, p = 0.29. It is concluded that the Quick Step is a simple and reliable tool for determining reaction time and lateral stepping velocity, and that this test can be used to detect a significant difference in reaction time between older adult fallers and nonfallers.
Katherine B. Gunter, Jennifer De Costa, Karen N. White, Karen Hooker, Wilson C. Hayes, and Christine M. Snow
This study assessed changes in balance self-efficacy (BSE) over 1 year in community-dwelling elderly, compared changes in BSE between fallers and nonfallers, and assessed the relationship between specific balance and mobility risk factors for side falls and BSE scores. Elderly fallers (n = 67; 80.2 ± 5.9 years) and nonfallers (n = 75; 79.4 ± 4.9), categorized based on self-reported falls over 1 year, were tested at baseline on postural sway, hip-abduction strength, lateral-stepping velocity, tandem walk, and get-up-and-go and given a BSE questionnaire. Fallers had lower BSE scores than nonfallers did (141.6 ± 33.5 and 154.9 ± 25.4; p = .008). BSE did not change over 1 year. In stepwise regression, BSE scores were predictive of time on the get-up-and-go, mediolateral sway, and tandem walk independent of age, height, and strength (p < .001). The BSE scale might be useful for screening individuals at risk for injurious falls because it is inexpensive and noninvasive.