To determine the effect of core muscle strengthening on balance in community-dwelling older adults, 24 healthy men and women between 65 and 85 years old were randomized to either exercise (EX; n = 12) or control (CON; n = 12) groups. The exercise group performed a core strengthening home exercise program thrice weekly for 6 wk. Core muscle (curl-up test), functional reach (FR) and Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) were assessed at baseline and follow-up. There were no group differences at baseline. At follow-up, EX exhibited significantly greater improvements in curl-up (Cohen’s d = 4.4), FR (1.3), and SEBT (>1.9 for all directions) than CON. The change in curl-up was significantly correlated with the change in FR (r = .44, p = .03) and SEBT (r > .61, p ≤ .002). These results suggest that core strengthening should be part of a comprehensive balance-training program for older adults.
The authors are with the Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH.