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Susan Dewhurst, Leslie Peacock and Theodoros M. Bampouras

Physical activity assists older individuals’ functional ability and postural stability. Recently, Scottish country dance (SCD) was reported as being a beneficial form of physical activity for functional ability in older females. This study aims to examine the effect of SCD on postural stability. Scottish country dancers (n = 20) were compared with physically active controls (n = 33) for static postural sway measured on a force platform. The Romberg and Tandem stances were used under ‘eyes open’ and ‘eyes closed’ conditions. Ninety-five percent ellipse area and sway velocity were calculated from the center of pressure displacement. Ninety-five percent ellipse area was the same for both groups in all tests. The control group had greater sway velocity for all tests (P < .01) except Tandem eyes closed. SCD participation resulted in similar postural sway as participation in other physical activities, however nondancers may need a greater amount of regulatory activity to maintain balance.

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Luca Ruggiero, Susan Dewhurst and Theodoros M. Bampouras

Leg stiffness is an important performance determinant in several sporting activities. This study evaluated the criterion-related validity and reliability of 2 field-based leg stiffness devices, Optojump Next® (Optojump) and Myotest Pro® (Myotest) in different testing approaches. Thirty-four males performed, on 2 separate sessions, 3 trials of 7 maximal hops, synchronously recorded from a force platform (FP), Optojump and Myotest. Validity (Pearson’s correlation coefficient, r; relative mean bias; 95% limits of agreement, 95%LoA) and reliability (coefficient of variation, CV; intraclass correlation coefficient, ICC; standard error of measurement, SEM) were calculated for first attempt, maximal attempt, and average across 3 trials. For all 3 methods, Optojump correlated highly to the FP (range r = .98–.99) with small bias (range 0.91–0.92, 95%LoA 0.86–0.98). Myotest demonstrated high correlation to FP (range r = .81–.86) with larger bias (range 1.92–1.93, 95%LoA 1.63–2.23). Optojump yielded a low CV (range 5.9% to 6.8%), high ICC (range 0.82–0.86), and SEM ranging 1.8–2.1 kN/m. Myotest had a larger CV (range 8.9% to 13.0%), moderate ICC (range 0.64–0.79), and SEM ranging from 6.3 to 8.9 kN/m. The findings present important information for these devices and support the use of a time-efficient single trial to assess leg stiffness in the field.

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Susan Dewhurst, Norah Nelson, Paul K. Dougall and Theodoros M. Bampouras

The effects of long-term participation in Scottish country dance on body composition, functional ability, and balance in healthy older females were examined. Participants were grouped into dancers and physically active nondancers (ages 60–70 and 70–80 for both groups). Physical activity, body composition (body-mass index, skinfold thickness, waist-to-hip ratio), functional ability (6-min walk distance, 6-m walk time, 8-ft up-and-go time, lower body flexibility, shoulder flexibility), and static balance were measured. Younger dancers and physically active nondancers had similar 6-min walk distance, 6-m walk time, and 8-ft up-and-go time results; however, while older dancers performed similarly to younger dancers, older physically active nondancers performed poorer than their younger counterparts (p < .05). Body composition and static balance were the same for all groups. Regular physical activity can maintain body composition and postural stability with advancing age; however, Scottish country dance can delay the effects of aging on locomotion-related functional abilities.