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Thomas A. Stoffregen

It is widely assumed that healthy aging includes a decline in the stability of standing body sway. Certainly, the spatial magnitude of postural sway increases with age. However, the interpretation of this effect as a decline in the ability to stabilize posture rests, in part, on assumptions about the nature and definition of stability in stance. In this article, I review data on the control of standing posture in healthy older adults. I focus on a growing list of studies that demonstrate the retention, among healthy older adults, of the ability functionally to modulate postural sway in support of “suprapostural” activities. I address laboratory research, but also field studies carried out in a setting that dramatically challenges the control of stance: life on ships at sea. I argue that it may be possible, and certainly will be useful, to address directly the functional control of stance in older adults.

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Jaap Swanenburg, Anne Gabrielle Mittaz Hager, Arian Nevzati and Andreas Klipstein

The purpose of this prospective cohort study was to determine whether the maximal width of the base of support (BSW) measure is able to predict the risk of multiple falls in community-dwelling women. Thirty-eight community-dwelling women (mean age of 72 ± 8 years old) participated. Falls were prospectively recorded during the following year. Overall, 29 falls were recorded; six (16%) women were multiple fallers and 32 (84%) were nonfallers. There was a significant difference in the BSW between the fallers and nonfallers (F[1, 37] = 5.134 [p = .030]). A logistic regression analysis indicated a significant contribution of the BSW test to the model (odds ratio = 0.637; 95% CI [0.407, 0.993]; p = .046 per 1 cm).The cut-off score was determined to be 27.8 cm (67% sensitivity and 84% specifcity). These results indicate that women with a smaller BSW at baseline had a significantly higher risk of sustaining a fall.

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George Sofianidis, Anna-Maria Dimitriou and Vassilia Hatzitaki

experience in Tai Chi have stronger knee muscles, better static ( Hong, Li, & Robinson, 2000 ) and dynamic ( Tsang & Hui-Chan, 2003 ) balance control, lower movement variability during one-leg stance, and better balance confidence than controls ( Tsang & Hui-Chan, 2005 ). However, Tai Chi practitioners did

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Cody L. Sipe, Kevin D. Ramey, Phil P. Plisky and James D. Taylor

limb while in a single-limb stance on a centralized platform. It was developed from the star excursion balance test (SEBT) in an attempt to address common sources of error and method variation noted in the SEBT ( Plisky, Gorman, Butler, Underwood, & Elkins, 2009 ). The SEBT has been shown to be a valid

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Cassio M. Meira Jr and Jeffrey T. Fairbrother

15° in either direction. The stabilometer was equipped with a potentiometer and interfaced with personal computer to record time in balance. Performance within a bandwidth of 5° from horizontal was considered correct. For acquisition and retention, the task required participants to adopt a stance

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Mohammed M. Althomali and Susan J. Leat

AFOV, will predict balance (measured with the Sit to Stand test and the One Legged Stance test), mobility (measured by the 5 Meter Walking test) and/or the fear of falling (measured with the Falls Efficacy Scale–International) in the older adult population. These balance and mobility assessment tools

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William W.N. Tsang and Christina W.Y. Hui-Chan

Purpose:

To determine whether older golfers have better static and dynamic balance control than older but nongolfing healthy adults.

Methods:

Eleven golfers and 12 control participants (all male; 66.2 ± 6.8 and 71.3 ± 6.6 yr old, respectively) were recruited. Duration of static single-leg stance was timed. Control of body sway was assessed in single-leg stance during forward and backward platform perturbations. The lunge distance normalized with respect to each participant’s height was used to compare the 2 groups in a forward-lunge test.

Results:

Golfers maintained significantly longer duration in static single-leg stance. They achieved less anteroposterior body sway in perturbed single-leg stance and lunged significantly farther than did control participants.

Conclusions:

The better static and dynamic balance control exhibited by older golfers possibly reflects the effects of weight transfers from repeated golf swings during weight shift from 2-leg to predominantly 1-leg stance and from walking on uneven fairways.

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Daniel S. Rooks, Bernard J. Ransil and Wilson C. Hayes

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.

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Monika Thomas and Michael Kalicinski

The present study investigated whether slackline training enhances postural control in older adults. Twenty-four participants were randomized into an intervention and a control group. The intervention group received 6 weeks of slackline training, two times per week. Pre–post measurement included the time of different standing positions on a balance platform with and without an external disturbance and the acceleration of the balance platform. Results showed significantly improved standing times during one-leg stance without external disturbance and a significantly reduced acceleration of the balance platform for the intervention group after the training period during tandem stance with and without an external disturbance. We conclude that slackline training in older adults has a positive impact on postural control and thus on the reduction of fall risk.

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Kristen K. Maughan, Kristin A. Lowry, Warren D. Franke and Ann L. Smiley-Oyen

A 6-wk group balance-training program was conducted with physically active older adults (based on American College of Sports Medicine requirements) to investigate the effect of dose-related static and dynamic balance-specific training. All participants, age 60–87 yr, continued their regular exercise program while adding balance training in 1 of 3 doses: three 20-min sessions/wk (n = 20), one 20-min session/wk (n = 21), or no balance training (n = 19). Static balance (single-leg-stance, tandem), dynamic balance (alternate stepping, limits of stability), and balance confidence (ABC) were assessed pre- and posttraining. Significant interactions were observed for time in single-leg stance, excursion in limits of stability, and balance confidence, with the greatest increase observed in the group that completed 3 training sessions/wk. The results demonstrate a dose-response relationship indicating that those who are already physically active can improve balance performance with the addition of balance-specific training.