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Journal Article


Bellafiore M, Battaglia G, Bianco A, Paoli A, Farina F, Palma A. Aging Clin. Exp. Res. 2010; 23(5-6): 378-385.


Department of Sports and Movement Sciences (DISMOT), University of Palermo, Italy.


(Copyright © 2010, Editrice Kurtis)






Background and Aims: Many studies have reported a greater frequency of falls among older women than men under conditions which stress balance. Previously, we have found an improvement in static balance in older women with an increased support surface area and an equal load redistribution on both feet in response to a dynamic balance training protocol. The aim of the present study was to examine whether the same training program and body composition would have effects on the postural control of older overweight women. Methods: Ten healthy women (68.67 ± 5.50 years; 28.17 ± 3.35 BMI) participated in a five-week physical activity program. This included dynamic balance exercises such as heel-to-toe walking in different directions, putting their hands on their hips, eyes open (EO) or closed (EC), with a tablet on the head, going up and down a step and walking on a mat. Postural stability was assessed before and after the training protocol with an optoelectronic platform and a uni-pedal balance performance test. Body composition of the trunk, upper limbs and lower limbs was measured by a bio-impedence analysis. Results: The mean speed (MS), medial-lateral MS (MS-x), anterior-posterior MS (MS-y), sway path (SP) and ellipse surface area (ESA) of the pressure centre was reduced in the older women after the training protocol. However, only MS; MS-x, MS-y and SP significantly decreased under bipodalic conditions with EO and MS-y also with EC (p<0.05). On the other hand, under monopodalic conditions we found a significant reduction in ESA of both feet with EO and EC. These data were associated with a significant increase in lean mass of lower limbs and a higher number of participants who improved their ability to maintain the uni-pedal static balance. Conclusions: Our dynamic balance training protocol appears to be feasible, safe and repeatable for older overweight women and have positive effects in improving their lateral and anterior-posterior postural control, mainly acting on the visual and skeletal muscle components of the balance control system.

Language: en


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