Evaluating balance and strength of older women in exercise programs Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/st74ct22m

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  • Falls are a common problem among older adults, including those who are relatively healthy and living independently. Exercise has been recommended as an intervention to reduce falls by slowing and/or reversing age-related declines in balance, strength, and mobility. However, it remains unclear which types or combinations of programs are most effective. The objective of this study was to investigate whether exercise programs performed by healthy older adults were associated with superior balance, strength, and functional mobility measures that are pertinent to fall prevention. This study compared three distinct groups: participants of a balance- and strength-focused training program (i.e., Better Bones and Balance®), participants engaged in a general walking program, and sedentary individuals. Balance was measured using the Sensory Organization Test composite score and sensory ratios. Isometric strength of the lateral hip stabilizers (i.e., abductors and adductors) was measured in terms of maximum voluntary contraction and rapid torque production. Rapid torque measures included contractile impulse and rate of torque development evaluated at 0-100 ms and 0-300 ms from contraction onset. Functional mobility was measured by the time to complete the Four Square Step Test. Hip abduction contractile impulse (0-300 ms) was 1.905 Nm*s and 1.539 Nm*s higher for the Better Bones and Balance (BBB) group compared to the walking and sedentary groups, respectively. No differences were found among the groups for any of the hip adduction torque measures or Sensory Organization Test balance scores. The BBB group completed the Four Square Step Test faster than the walking and sedentary groups by 0.90 s and 1.06 s, respectively. In conclusion, participation in the balance- and strength-focused training program was associated with superior performance in some measures of strength and functional mobility that may be important for fall prevention.
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