As people age, their body systems gradually deteriorate. Muscle function and the vestibular system slowly deteriorate leading to lower body instability. Older adults who struggle with dizziness and imbalance are more prone to falling. Dizziness and imbalance cause falls, and falls are the leading cause of hospitalization and accidental death in older adults (Shinichi & Tatsuya, 2015). It possible to prevent and reduce the risk of falls through balance training. It is crucial that older adults take the steps needed to improve their balance and therefore reduce their risk of falling. PURPOSE: To evaluate the effect of a 10-week Square-Stepping Exercise (SSE) program in older adults using the Biodex balance system. METHODS: Eleven adults over the age of 60 and involved in the Senior Jacket program at Cedarville University participated in this 10-week study (0 males, 11 females; mean age=76). Measurements taken prior to and after the intervention include Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) Scale, Timed-Up-And-Go Test, 30-Second Chair Stand Test, Limits of Stability Test, and Fall Risk Test. A Repeated Measures ANOVA was used to determine changes in initial and final balance testing scores. RESULTS: The study revealed that significant differences were found for the functional fitness tests. SPSS indicated a significant difference in improvement from pretest to posttest for the Timed-Up-and-Go Test (P = .003) as well as the 30-Second Chair Stand Test (P = .043). For the Limits of Stability test, there was no significant change from pretest to posttest for the overall (P =0.162) or any of the 8 directions. The Fall Risk Test score also showed no significant change (P =0.831). The ABC scale test did not show significant improvement either (P = 0.995). CONCLUSION: Overall, the results showed that the participants significantly benefited from the training program in areas of functional fitness. Unfortunately, there was no significant improvement with the Biodex balance system’s Fall Risk Test or Limits of Stability Test. Results may be due to the participants already having good balance as they were well below the normative data. It could also be because the training was not specific enough for improvements in the Fall Risk and Limits of Stability tests.
Older Adults, balance training, Square-Stepping Exercise, Fall Risk, Biodex Balance System
Dr. April Crommett
Miorelli, Grace and Nelson, Michaela, "The Effects of Square-Stepping Exercise on Risk of Falling and Balance in Senior Adults" (2016). Kinesiology and Allied Health Senior Research Projects. 3.
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