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Madeleine E. Hackney, Courtney D. Hall, Katharina V. Echt and Steven L. Wolf

Evidence-based recommendations for interventions to reduce fall risk in older adults with visual impairment are lacking. Adapted tango dance (Tango) and a balance and mobility program (FallProof) have improved mobility, balance, and quality of life (QOL) in individuals with movement impairment. This study compared the efficacy of Tango and FallProof for 32 individuals with visual impairment (age: M = 79.3, SD =11 [51–95 years]). Participants were assigned to Tango or FallProof to complete twenty, 90-min lessons within 12 weeks. Participants underwent assessment of balance, dual-tasking, endurance, gait, and vision-related QOL. The balance reactions of participants in both groups improved (p < .001). Endurance, cognitive dual-tasking, and vision-related QOL may have improved more for Tango than FallProof. Group differences and gains were maintained across time. Both programs could be effective options for motor rehabilitation for older adults with visual impairment because they may improve mobility and QOL while reducing fall risk.

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Ching-Yi Wang, Sharon L. Olson and Elizabeth J. Protas

The purposes of this study were to evaluate community-dwelling elderly adults with different levels of perceived mobility with 5 physical-performance tests, determine the cutoff values of the 5 tests, and identify the best tests for classifying mobility status. The community-mobility statuses of 203 community-dwelling elders were classified as able, decreased, or disabled based on their self-reported ability to walk several blocks and climb stairs. They also performed the functional reach, timed 50-ft walk, timed 5-step, timed floor transfer, and 5-min-walk endurance tests. We found in all tests that the “able” outperformed the “decreased” and that the “decreased” outperformed the “disabled,” except on the floor-transfer task. The optimum cutoff values of the 5 performance tests were also reported. The 5-min walk and timed 5-step test could best separate the “able” from the “decreased,” whereas the 50-ft-walk-test could best differentiate the “decreased” from the “disabled.” The results suggest that community-mobility function of older adults can be captured by performance tests and that the cutoff values of the 5-min-walk, 5-step, and 50-ft-walk tests can be used in guiding intervention or prevention programs.

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L. Jerome Brandon, Lisa W. Boyette, Deborah A. Gaasch and Adrienne Lloyd

This study evaluated the effects of a 4-month lower extremity strength-training program on mobility in older adults. Eighty-five older adults (43 experimental, ES, and 42 comparison, CS) with a mean age of 72.3 years served as participants. The ES strength-trained plantar flexors (PF), knee flexors (KF), and knee extensors (KE) 1 hr/day, 3 days a week for 4 months. Both the ES and CS were evaluated for PF, KF, and KE strength (1 RM) and the time required to complete floor rise, chair rise, 50-ft walk, and walking up and down stairs before and after the training intervention. The ES increased (p < .05) both absolute (51.9%) and relative strength (1 RM/body weight, 52.4%) after training. Only chair-rise and floor-rise tasks improved significantly after training. Baseline and posttraining mobility tasks predicted from 1 RMs had low to moderate R values. These results suggest that strength is necessary for mobility, but increasing strength above baseline provides only marginal improvement in mobility for reasonably fit older adults.

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Lorraine Y. Morphy and Donna Goodwin

This exploratory study described the experiences of choice in physical activity contexts for adults with mobility impairments. The experiences of 3 female and 2 males with mobility impairments between 18 and 23 years of age were described using the interpretive phenomenological methods of individual interviews, written stories, and field notes. Thematic analysis revealed three themes: (a) interpreting the setting described participants’ interpretation of the environment, person, and task when making movement choices; (b) alternative selection described how participants actively engaged in analyzing alternatives and choosing among them; and (c) implications of choices made described participants’ evaluations of good and bad choices and what was learned. Evidence of effective choice making among adults with physical impairments suggests the potential efficacy of ecological task analysis as a pedagogical tool in physical activity contexts.

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Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos and Kathleen A. Martin Ginis

This study descriptively measured the universal accessibility of “accessible” fitness and recreational facilities for Ontarians living with mobility disabilities. The physical and social environments of 44 fitness and recreational facilities that identified as “accessible” were assessed using a modified version of the AIMFREE. None of the 44 facilities were completely accessible. Mean accessibility ratings ranged between 31 and 63 out of a possible 100. Overall, recreational facilities had higher accessibility scores than fitness centers, with significant differences found on professional support and training, entrance areas, and parking lot. A modest correlation was found between the availability of fitness programming and the overall accessibility of fitness-center specific facility areas. Overall, the physical and social environments of the 44 fitness and recreational facilities assessed were limited in their accessibility for persons with mobility disabilities. Future efforts should be directed at establishing and meeting universal accessibility guidelines for Canadian physical activity facilities.

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James D. Sessford, Mary Jung, Lawrence R. Brawley and Jennifer L. Forbes

Among older adults, preserving community mobility (CM) is important for maintaining independent living. We explored whether perceptions of the environment and self-efficacy for CM (SE-CM) would predict walking performance for tasks reflecting CM. We hypothesized that perceptions of the environment and SE-CM would be additive predictors of walking performance on tasks reflecting the complexity of CM. Independent living older adults (N = 60) aged 64-85 completed six complex walking tasks (CWTs), SE-CM, and the environmental analysis of mobility questionnaire (EAMQ). Multiple regression analyses indicated that for each CWT, the EAMQ scales predicted walking performance (range: model R2Adj. = .078 to .139, p < .04). However, when SE-CM was added to the models, it was the sole significant predictor (p < .05). Contrary to our hypotheses, SE-CM was the best predictor in the additive models. SE-CM may be more correspondent to walking tests and thus a more sensitive predictor of CM walking performance.

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Eric Sauers, Anna August and Alison Snyder

Context:

Stretching prior to activity or as a rehabilitative intervention may promote increased throwing shoulder range of motion (ROM) in baseball pitchers.

Objective:

To evaluate the acute effects of Fauls modified passive stretching routine on throwing shoulder mobility in collegiate baseball players.

Design:

Repeated measures.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

Thirty collegiate baseball players with unimpaired shoulders.

Interventions:

Fauls modified passive stretching routine was performed on the throwing shoulder of each subject.

Outcome Measures:

Shoulder complex and passive isolated glenohumeral internal and external rotation ROM were measured with a goniometer, and posterior shoulder tightness was assessed with the Tyler’s test method using a carpenter’s square. Measurements were made bilaterally.

Results:

The dominant shoulder displayed significant increases in glenohumeral and shoulder complex internal and external rotation ROM and significantly decreased posterior shoulder tightness following the stretching routine.

Conclusion:

Application of the Fauls modified passive shoulder stretching routine results in acute gains in throwing shoulder mobility of collegiate baseball players.

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Patricia E. Longmuir and Roy J. Shephard

An arm ergometer analog of the Canadian Aerobic Fitness Test (CAFT) has been proposed for subjects with impairments of mobility (Longmuir & Shephard, 1995). Because of muscle weakness or spasm, only 63% of the adults concerned could maintain the required cadence in the original test version. Thus, in the present study it was hypothesized that a reduced crank loading would yield a higher success rate. In a sample of 35 adults with mobility impairment, 82% were able to complete at least one stage of the modified test. Difficulty was encountered mainly by persons with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. The revised protocol had a high (r = .97) 1-week test/retest reliability, with no test/retest bias except that subjects with brain lesions scored somewhat higher at their second assessment. A scaled prediction of peak oxygen intake using the standard CAFT equation agreed closely with direct arm ergometer determinations of it. The modified test showed a mean discrepancy ±SD of 0.1 ± 4.8 ml/[kg · min]. Further validation is needed, but the current analog of the standard CAFT appears to be useful for many with mobility impairments.

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Sven Rees, Aron Murphy and Mark Watsford

This study was designed to investigate the effects of vibration on muscle performance and mobility in a healthy, untrained, older population. Forty-three participants (23 men, 20 women, 66–85 y old) performed tests of sit-to-stand (STS), 5- and 10-m fast walk, timed up-and-go test, stair mobility, and strength. Participants were randomly assigned to a vibration group, an exercise-without-vibration group, or a control group. Training consisted of 3 sessions/wk for 2 mo. After training, the vibration and exercise groups showed improved STS (12.4%, 10.2%), 5-m fast walk (3.0%, 3.7%), and knee-extension strength (8.1%, 7.2%) compared with the control (p < 0.05). Even though vibration training improved lower limb strength, it did not appear to have a facilitatory effect on functional-performance tasks compared with the exercise-without-vibration group. Comparable mobility and performance changes between the experimental groups suggest that improvements are linked with greater knee-extension strength and largely attributed to the unloaded squats performed by both exercise groups.

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Urs Granacher, Andre Lacroix, Katrin Roettger, Albert Gollhofer and Thomas Muehlbauer

This study investigated associations between variables of trunk muscle strength (TMS), spinal mobility, and balance in seniors. Thirty-four seniors (sex: 18 female, 16 male; age: 70 ± 4 years; activity level: 13 ± 7 hr/week) were tested for maximal isometric strength (MIS) of the trunk extensors, flexors, lateral flexors, rotators, spinal mobility, and steady-state, reactive, and proactive balance. Significant correlations were detected between all measures of TMS and static steady-state balance (r = .43−.57, p < .05). Significant correlations were observed between specific measures of TMS and dynamic steady-state balance (r = .42−.55, p < .05). No significant correlations were found between all variables of TMS and reactive/proactive balance and between all variables of spinal mobility and balance. Regression analyses revealed that TMS explains between 1–33% of total variance of the respective balance parameters. Findings indicate that TMS is related to measures of steady-state balance which may imply that TMS promoting exercises should be integrated in strength training for seniors.