Effects of unstable surface training on measures of balance in older adults


Schilling, BK, Falvo, MJ, Karlage, RE, Weiss, LW, Lohnes, CA, and Chiu, LZF. Effects of unstable surface training on measures of balance in older adults. J Strength Cond Res 23(4): 1211-1216, 2009-The purpose of this investigation was to examine the effects of a 5-week, low-cost unstable surface balance training program in sexagenarians. Nineteen men and women (60-68 years; 83.7 ± SD kg) were randomly assigned to a control or training group. The training group performed various balance activities on air-filled rubber disks for 5 weeks. Each thrice-weekly session was supervised, and progression was based on proficiency. While in an upright position, static balance (length of path [LOP] of the center of pressure) was assessed in both eyes-open and eyes-closed states for each leg separately as well as for both legs. Participants also performed the timed up-and-go (TUG) test and completed the Activity-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) questionnaire. A significant group X time effect for the ABC questionnaire was found (p = 0.04). Tukey post hoc analysis indicates that the balance training program increased self-perceived balance confidence (p < 0.01 ). No significant group X time interactions were noted for TUG or LOP. Because no objective measure of balance or function was changed, the increase in ABC may be spurious. Unstable surface training may not be effective in improving balance among persons for whom balance is not problematic. However, the large number of acute training variables in such a program leaves opportunity for further research in this paradigm. © 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association.

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Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research