The effect of resistance exercise training on the postural stability of older adults descending stairs of different step heights.

This source preferred by James Gavin

Authors: Gavin, J.P., Reeves, N.D., Maganaris, C.N. and Baltzopoulos, V.

Start date: 7 July 2014

Volume: 47

DOI: 10.13140/2.1.4878.5924

Introduction Older adults adopt altered movement control strategies to cope with the demands of stair descent, particularly between buildings, where stair rise may differ. Exercise training may help older people meet these demands. Therefore, this study examined the effects of lower-limb exercise training on the postural stability and movement fluency of older adults descending stairs.

Methods Fifteen older individuals (11 women; 75 ± 3 yr, 162 ± 7 cm, 69 ± 11 kg) descended an instrumented four-step staircase, configured to either standard (17 cm) or increased rise steps (25.5 cm), before and 16 weeks after exercise training. Force platforms and a VICON motion capture system were used to collect and compare data on: centre of mass (COM)-centre of pressure (COP) separation and COM jerk (the rate of change of COM acceleration). Training involved two sessions per week of leg-press, knee extension and calf-press exercises (three sets of ~8 repetitions at 80% 3RM), and plantarflexor static stretching (45 s per leg, 3 repetitions).

Results Following training, anterior COM-COP separation increased (P < 0.01) and posterior separation decreased when descending standard stairs (P < 0.01), but not increased rise stairs. Medial (P < 0.05) and lateral separations (P < 0.05) increased when descending standard stairs, but not increased rise stairs after training. Anterior-posterior COM jerk increased, with vertical jerk unchanged, when descending standard stairs (P < 0.01). Training did not affect COM jerk for increased rise stairs.

Discussion These results demonstrate that resistance exercise training altered the stability and fluency of motion, for older adults descending stairs. Training did not influence the descent of increased height steps, which may be attributable to higher task-demand.

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