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Effectiveness of an exercise program on postural control in frail older adults

Authors Alfieri FM, Marcelo Riberto, Abril Carreres, Boldó, Castellet, Figuera, Rizzo Battistella L

Received 17 July 2012

Accepted for publication 10 October 2012

Published 18 December 2012 Volume 2012:7 Pages 593—598


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Fábio Marcon Alfieri,1,2 Marcelo Riberto,3 Àngels Abril-Carreres,4 Maria Boldó-Alcaine,4 Elisabet Rusca-Castellet,4 Roser Garreta-Figuera,4 Linamara Rizzo Battistella5

São Paulo Adventist University Center, São Paulo, Brazil; 2Institute of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Hospital of Clinics, University of São Paulo, Brazil; 3School of Medicine in Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Brazil; 4University Hospital Mútua Terrassa Department of Rehabilitation, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; 5School of Medicine, Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Clinics Hospital of University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Background: Exercise programs have proved to be helpful for frail older adults. This study aimed to investigate the effects of an exercise program with a focus on postural control exercises in frail older adults.
Method: Twenty-six older adults (76.7 ± 4.9 years) deemed clinically stable, chosen from the Falls Unit, University Hospital Mútua Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain, participated in this single-group study. Volunteers' postural control was evaluated using the Timed Up and Go test (TUG) and the Guralnik test battery, and their static and dynamic posturography were evaluated using the Synapsys Posturography System®. These evaluations were performed before and after the intervention program, which included an educational session and two weekly 1-hour sessions over an 8-week period of stretching exercises, proprioception, balance, and motor coordination. Data were analyzed using the Student's t-test or the Wilcoxon test, with a significance level of 5%.
Results: The TUG and Guralnik tests did not show significant differences. Concerning static posturography, there was improvement in the base of support (P = 0.006), anteroposterior displacement with eyes open (P = 0.02) and closed (P = 0.03), and the total amplitude of the center of pressure with eyes closed (P = 0.02). Regarding dynamic posturography, a decrease of the oscillation speed in the anteroposterior direction (P = 0.01) was observed in individuals with their eyes open.
Conclusion: The program used in this study was safe and was able to promote some improvement in postural control, especially in the anteroposterior direction and in the base of support. However, it is noteworthy that further improvements could be obtained from a program of longer duration and greater frequency.

Keywords: balance, aging, intervention, falls

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