Category Archives: Balance

Tango Dancing Improves Balance and Posture


Dancing for balance: feasibility and efficacy in oldest-old adults with visual impairment.

Fall risk increases with age and visual impairment, yet the oldest-old adults (>85 years) are rarely studied. Partnered dance improves mobility, balance, and quality of life in older individuals with movement impairment.
The aim of the study was to determine the feasibility and participant satisfaction of an adapted tango program amongst these oldest-old adults with visual impairment. Exploratory analyses were conducted to determine efficacy of the program in improving balance and gait.
In a repeated-measures, one-group experimental design, 13 older adults (7 women; age: M = 86.9 years, SD = 5.9 years, range = 77-95 years) with visual impairment (best eye acuity: M = 0.63, SD = 0.6 logMAR) participated in an adapted tango program of twenty 1.5-hour lessons, within 11 weeks. Feasibility included evaluation of facility access, safety, volunteer assistant retention, and participant retention and satisfaction. Participants were evaluated for balance, lower body strength, and quality of life in two baseline observations, immediately after the program and 1 month later.
Twelve participants completed the program. The facility was adequate, no injuries were sustained, and participants and volunteers were retained throughout. Participants reported enjoyment and improvements in physical well-being. Exploratory measures of dynamic postural control (p < .001), lower body strength (p = .056), and general vision-related quality of life (p = .032) scores showed improvements following training.
These older individuals with visual impairment benefitted from 30 hours of tango instruction adapted for their capabilities.

Hackney ME, Hall CD, Echt KV, Wolf SL
Nurs Res March 2013
PMID: 23458910

Dance Dance Revolution Improves Gait and Walking Speed in Older Adults


A cognitive-motor intervention using a dance video game to enhance foot placement accuracy and gait under dual task conditions in older adults: a randomized controlled trial.

Computer-based interventions have demonstrated consistent positive effects on various physical abilities in older adults. This study aims to compare two training groups that achieve similar amounts of strength and balance exercise where one group receives an intervention that includes additional dance video gaming. The aim is to investigate the different effects of the training programs on physical and psychological parameters in older adults.
Thirty-one participants (mean age ± SD: 86.2 ± 4.6 years), residents of two Swiss hostels for the aged, were randomly assigned to either the dance group (n = 15) or the control group (n = 16). The dance group absolved a twelve-week cognitive-motor exercise program twice weekly that comprised progressive strength and balance training supplemented with additional dance video gaming. The control group performed only the strength and balance exercises during this period. Outcome measures were foot placement accuracy, gait performance under single and dual task conditions, and falls efficacy.
After the intervention between-group comparison revealed significant differences for gait velocity (U = 26, P = .041, r = .45) and for single support time (U = 24, P = .029, r = .48) during the fast walking dual task condition in favor of the dance group. No significant between-group differences were observed either in the foot placement accuracy test or in falls efficacy.
There was a significant interaction in favor of the dance video game group for improvements in step time. Significant improved fast walking performance under dual task conditions (velocity, double support time, step length) was observed for the dance video game group only. These findings suggest that in older adults a cognitive-motor intervention may result in more improved gait under dual task conditions in comparison to a traditional strength and balance exercise program.

Pichierri G, Murer K, de Bruin ED
BMC Geriatr 2012
PMID: 23241332 | Free Full Text

Greek Dancing Improves Balance in Older Adults


Effect of a 10-week traditional dance program on static and dynamic balance control in elderly adults.

This preliminary study examined the effect of a 10-wk traditional Greek dance program on static and dynamic balance indices in healthy elderly adults. Twenty-six community-dwelling older adults were randomly assigned to either an intervention group who took supervised Greek traditional dance classes for 10 wk (1 hr, 2 sessions/week, n = 14), or a control group (n = 12). Balance was assessed pre- and postintervention by recording the center-of-pressure (COP) variations and trunk kinematics during performance of the Sharpened-Romberg test, 1-leg (OL) stance, and dynamic weight shifting (WS). After practice, the dance group significantly decreased COP displacement and trunk sway in OL stance. A significant increase in the range of trunk rotation was noted during performance of dynamic WS in the sagittal and frontal planes. These findings support the use of traditional dance as an effective means of physical activity for improving static and dynamic balance control in the elderly.

Sofianidis G, Hatzitaki V, Douka S, Grouios G
J Aging Phys Act Apr 2009
PMID: 19451666

Salsa Dancing Improves Posture and Stride in Older Adults


Effects of a salsa dance training on balance and strength performance in older adults.

Deficits in static and particularly dynamic postural control and force production have frequently been associated with an increased risk of falling in older adults.
The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of salsa dancing on measures of static/dynamic postural control and leg extensor power in seniors.
Twenty-eight healthy older adults were randomly assigned to an intervention group (INT, n = 14, age 71.6 ± 5.3 years) to conduct an 8-week progressive salsa dancing programme or a control group (CON, n = 14, age 68.9 ± 4.7 years). Static postural control was measured during one-legged stance on a balance platform and dynamic postural control was obtained while walking on an instrumented walkway. Leg extensor power was assessed during a countermovement jump on a force plate.
Programme compliance was excellent with participants of the INT group completing 92.5% of the dancing sessions. A tendency towards an improvement in the selected measures of static postural control was observed in the INT group as compared to the CON group. Significant group × test interactions were found for stride velocity, length and time. Post hoc analyses revealed significant increases in stride velocity and length, and concomitant decreases in stride time. However, salsa dancing did not have significant effects on various measures of gait variability and leg extensor power.
Salsa proved to be a safe and feasible exercise programme for older adults accompanied with a high adherence rate. Age-related deficits in measures of static and particularly dynamic postural control can be mitigated by salsa dancing in older adults. High physical activity and fitness/mobility levels of our participants could be responsible for the nonsignificant findings in gait variability and leg extensor power.

Granacher U, Muehlbauer T, Bridenbaugh SA, Wolf M…
Gerontology 2012
PMID: 22236951

Vitamin D Status Associated with Functional Mobility


Association between serum vitamin D status and functional mobility in memory clinic patients aged 65 years and older.

Recent studies have shown that vitamin D status may be relevant for physical and cognitive performance in the older population. This association may be of particular interest to older people at risk for cognitive impairment and functional decline.
The aim of this study was to determine the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] status and functional mobility in seniors assessed in a memory clinic.
We conducted a cross-sectional study of outpatients (n = 404) in a memory clinic. Functional mobility was assessed with three endpoints: normal and fast walking speed and the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test. Adjusted multivariate analyses in all patients and two pre-planned subgroup analyses in vulnerable seniors (previous fall and MMSE score of ≥26 or no previous fall and MMSE score of <26) versus less vulnerable seniors (no previous fall and MMSE score of ≥26) were performed to assess the association of 25(OH)D and functional mobility.
Overall, mean 25(OH)D serum levels were 63.2 ± 33.9 nmol/l, and 41.3% were vitamin D deficient (<50 nmol/l). Seniors in the lowest 25(OH)D quartile (<39 nmol/l) had significantly worse functional mobility compared to the highest 25(OH)D quartile (>81 nmol/l); adjusted for all covariates, seniors in the highest quartile performed 9.4% better in normal (p = 0.02) and 9.2% better in fast (p = 0.004) walking speed, and 4.4% better in the TUG test (p = 0.24). The association between 25(OH)D status and functional mobility was most pronounced in less vulnerable seniors (p for trend significant for all three mobility tests). Seniors with a higher 25(OH)D status also had better cognitive function (MMSE score; p = 0.006).
Lower serum 25(OH)D status is associated with poorer functional mobility and cognitive function, therefore supporting 25(OH)D assessment in this population at risk for both functional and cognitive decline.

Gschwind YJ, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Bridenbaugh SA, Härdi I…
Gerontology 2014
PMID: 24335110

Risk Factors and Protective Factors for Falls


Lifestyle predicts falls independent of physical risk factors.

Many falls occur among older adults with no traditional risk factors. We examined potential independent effects of lifestyle on fall risk. Not smoking and going outdoors frequently or infrequently were independently associated with more falls, indicating lifestyle-related behavioral and environmental risk factors are important causes of falls in older women.
Physical and lifestyle risk factors for falls and population attributable risks (PAR) were examined.
We conducted a 4-year prospective study of 8,378 community-dwelling women (mean age = 71 years, SD = 3) enrolled in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. Data on number of falls were self-reported every 4 months. Fall rates were calculated (# falls/woman-years). Poisson regression was used to estimate relative risks (RR).

Physical risk factors (p < or = 0.05 for all) included tall height (RR = 0.89 per 5 in.), dizziness (RR = 1.16), fear of falling (RR = 1.20), self-reported health decline (RR = 1.19), difficulty with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) (RR = 1.12, per item), fast usual-paced walking speed (RR = 1.18, per 2 SD), and use of antidepressants (RR = 1.20), benzodiazepines (RR = 1.11), or anticonvulsants (RR = 1.62).

Protective physical factors (p < or = 0.05 for all) included good visual acuity (RR = 0.87, per 2 SD) and good balance (RR = 0.85 vs. poor).

Lifestyle predicted fewer falls including current smoking (RR = 0.76), going outdoors at least twice weekly but not more than once a day (RR = 0.89 and vs. twice daily). High physical activity was associated with more falls but only among IADL impaired women. Five potentially modifiable physical risk factors had PAR > or = 5%.
Fall interventions addressing modifiable physical risk factors with PAR > or = 5% while considering environmental/behavioral risk factors are indicated.

Faulkner KA, Cauley JA, Studenski SA, Landsittel DP…
Osteoporos Int Dec 2009
PMID: 19319617 | Free Full Text

Review: Exercises to Reduce Falls, and Improve Gait and Balance


Effects of different exercise interventions on risk of falls, gait ability, and balance in physically frail older adults: a systematic review.

The aim of this review was to recommend training strategies that improve the functional capacity in physically frail older adults based on scientific literature, focusing specially in supervised exercise programs that improved muscle strength, fall risk, balance, and gait ability. Scielo, Science Citation Index, MEDLINE, Scopus, Sport Discus, and ScienceDirect databases were searched from 1990 to 2012. Studies must have mentioned the effects of exercise training on at least one of the following four parameters: Incidence of falls, gait, balance, and lower-body strength. Twenty studies that investigated the effects of multi-component exercise training (10), resistance training (6), endurance training (1), and balance training (3) were included in the present revision. Ten trials investigated the effects of exercise on the incidence of falls in elderly with physical frailty. Seven of them have found a fewer falls incidence after physical training when compared with the control group. Eleven trials investigated the effects of exercise intervention on the gait ability. Six of them showed enhancements in the gait ability. Ten trials investigated the effects of exercise intervention on the balance performance and seven of them demonstrated enhanced balance. Thirteen trials investigated the effects of exercise intervention on the muscle strength and nine of them showed increases in the muscle strength. The multi-component exercise intervention composed by strength, endurance and balance training seems to be the best strategy to improve rate of falls, gait ability, balance, and strength performance in physically frail older adults.

Cadore EL, Rodríguez-Mañas L, Sinclair A, Izquierdo M
Rejuvenation Res Apr 2013
PMID: 23327448 | Free Full Text

Virtual Reality Training Improves Balance in Older Adults


Effects of balance training using a virtual-reality system in older fallers.

Poor balance is considered a challenging risk factor for falls in older adults. Therefore, innovative interventions for balance improvement in this population are greatly needed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a new virtual-reality system (the Balance Rehabilitation Unit [BRU]) on balance, falls, and fear of falling in a population of community-dwelling older subjects with a known history of falls. In this study, 60 community-dwelling older subjects were recruited after being diagnosed with poor balance at the Falls and Fractures Clinic, Nepean Hospital (Penrith, NSW, Australia). Subjects were randomly assigned to either the BRU-training or control groups. Both groups received the usual falls prevention care. The BRU-training group attended balance training (two sessions/week for 6 weeks) using an established protocol. Change in balance parameters was assessed in the BRU-training group at the end of their 6-week training program. Both groups were assessed 9 months after their initial assessment (month 0). Adherence to the BRU-training program was 97%. Balance parameters were significantly improved in the BRU-training group (P < 0.01). This effect was also associated with a significant reduction in falls and lower levels of fear of falling (P < 0.01). Some components of balance that were improved by BRU training showed a decline after 9 months post-training. In conclusion, BRU training is an effective and well-accepted intervention to improve balance, increase confidence, and prevent falls in the elderly.

Duque G, Boersma D, Loza-Diaz G, Hassan S…
Clin Interv Aging 2013
PMID: 23467506 | Free Full Text

Hippotherapy for Balance


Effects of hippotherapy on mobility, strength and balance in elderly.

To assess the chronic effects of hippotherapy on functional mobility, muscle strength and balance in elderly.
28 volunteers, between the age of 60 and 84, were randomly recruited and divided in experimental group (EG), with 12 individuals (8 women and 4 men) and control group (CG), with 16 individuals (14 women and 2 men). The EG group participated in an 8-week hippotherapy program. Before and after the study period functional mobility was assessed and measured by Time Up and Go Test (TUG), muscle strength of the lower limbs was measured by 30s Chair Stand Test (30CST) and performance in balance was measured by the Berg Balance Scale (BBS). A mixed ANOVA model (group×testing time) was applied to establish the effect of the different groups on the functional variables.
The functional capacity of the EG group was increased if compared to CG group after the intervention of the BBS (p=0.003) and 30CST (p=0.032), but not of the TUG (p=0.063).
The results indicated that hippotherapy improves the lower limb strength and balance in elderly.

de Araújo TB, de Oliveira RJ, Martins WR, de Moura Pereira M…
Arch Gerontol Geriatr
PMID: 23290005