Aging is associated with deterioration of the physiologic systems controlling balance. Consequently, a multitude of intervention trials has appeared in the last 2 decades attempting to improve control of balance. Effective programs often require substantial and frequent time commitments, expensive and specialized equipment, professional assistance, and clinical settings. This investigation reports the effects of a simple, short-term balance training program on dynamic balance in healthy older women.
Subjects included 11 healthy women (75.6+/-6.4 years) who participated in biweekly, 15-minute balance training sessions for 5 weeks, and 10 age-matched women (71.2+/-9.1 years) who served as controls. Balance training involved medial-lateral and anterior-posterior movements and bilateral partial squats while standing on semi-compressible foam roller-devices. Dynamic balance was quantified using functional reach in the forward, left, and right directions, and a lower extremity reach test.
Significant increases were observed in the balance trained group: 25% in functional reach right (P=0.014) and left (P<0.001) and 16% in lower extremity reach (P=0.001). No change was noted in the control group.
Improvements in dynamic balance can be realized following 5 weeks of dynamic balance training using this novel, simplistic, and short-term protocol.