Balance control in the elderly: do Masters athletes show more efficient balance responses than healthy older adults?

Brauer, Sandra G., Neros, Christina and Woollacott, Marjorie (2008) Balance control in the elderly: do Masters athletes show more efficient balance responses than healthy older adults?. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 20 5: 406-411.


Author Brauer, Sandra G.
Neros, Christina
Woollacott, Marjorie
Title Balance control in the elderly: do Masters athletes show more efficient balance responses than healthy older adults?
Journal name Aging Clinical and Experimental Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1594-0667
1720-8319
Publication date 2008-10-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 20
Issue 5
Start page 406
End page 411
Total pages 6
Editor Gaetano Crepaldi
Place of publication Milan, Italy
Publisher Editrice Kurtis
Language eng
Subject C1
920502 Health Related to Ageing
110603 Motor Control
110308 Geriatrics and Gerontology
Abstract Background and aims: Older adults can improve several components of their balance such as timed stance ability by participating in a short specific exercise program. However, it is not clear whether participation in more frequent and intense training can result in improved reactive balance performance in older adults. Optimal reactive responses are required to prevent falls. This study begins to evaluate this issue by comparing the reactive balance ability of elite older adults (Masters athletes) to that of healthy older adults. Methods: Kinetic and electromyography data were collected from elite older athletes and healthy older adults during backward linear underfoot perturbations at high and low speeds. Behavioral outcomes of postural recovery strategy, timing and levels of muscular activation, and time to stabilize the displaced center of pressure were measured and compared between groups. Results: The elite older athletes were able to more frequently regain balance without stepping, stabilized their center of pressure faster than did healthy older adults and activated their tibialis anterior with a greater magnitude when perturbed at the higher speed. There were no differences between groups in these measures at the lower perturbation speed and no differences in onset latencies at either speed. Conclusions: Older athletes undertaking long-term high intensity training demonstrate better and more rapid stabilization of posture following perturbation than healthy older adults under challenging conditions. Further studies are advocated to determine the relative contribution of processes such as neuromotor adaptation, strength, motivation and arousal to this finding. (Aging Clin Exp Res 2008; 20: 406-411) (c) 2008, Editrice Kurtis.
Formatted abstract
Background and aims: Older adults can improve several components of their balance such as timed stance ability by participating in a short specific exercise program. However, it is not clear whether participation in more frequent and intense training can result in improved reactive balance performance in older adults. Optimal reactive responses are required to prevent falls. This study begins to evaluate this issue by comparing the reactive balance ability of elite older adults (Masters athletes) to that of healthy older adults.

Methods: Kinetic and electromyography data were collected from elite older athletes and healthy older adults during backward linear underfoot perturbations at high and low speeds. Behavioral outcomes of postural recovery strategy, timing and levels of muscular activation, and time to stabilize the displaced center of pressure were measured and compared between groups.

Results: The elite older athletes were able to more frequently regain balance without stepping, stabilized their center of pressure faster than did healthy older adults and activated their tibialis anterior with a greater magnitude when perturbed at the higher speed. There were no differences between groups in these measures at the lower perturbation speed and no differences in onset latencies at either speed.

Conclusions
: Older athletes undertaking long-term high intensity training demonstrate better and more rapid stabilization of posture following perturbation than healthy older adults under challenging conditions. Further studies are advocated to determine the relative contribution of processes such as neuromotor adaptation, strength, motivation and arousal to this finding. (Aging Clin Exp Res 2008; 20: 406-411) ©2008, Editrice Kurtis
Keyword Age
balance
masters athletes
reactive postural control
training
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2009 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 01 Apr 2009, 22:47:47 EST by Meredith Downes on behalf of School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences