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Effect of High-Intensity Strength-Training on Functional Measures of Balance Ability in Balance-Impaired Older Adults

      Abstract

      Objective

      The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a 10-week, high-intensity strength-training program targeting key lower extremity muscles for the purpose of improving postural control in balance-impaired older adults.

      Methods

      A quasi-experimental, delayed entry controlled design was used to evaluate balance ability in balance-impaired older adults after participation in 10 weeks of high-intensity strength training focused on the quadriceps, hamstrings, tibialis anterior, and gastrocnemius muscles. Participants were evaluated using validated clinical measures of functional balance ability: the Berg Balance Scale, the Timed Up and Go, and the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale.

      Results

      After strength training, the exercisers were significantly stronger than the control subjects. They improved significantly on the Berg Balance Scale (P = .030) from a mean score of 48.8 ± 2.4 of 56 before training to 51.2 ± 4.3 of 56 after training. The Timed Up and Go (P = .045) and the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale (P = .038) also improved significantly in the experimental group. These changes are associated with a decrease in fall risk.

      Conclusions

      High-intensity strength training can safely and effectively strengthen lower extremity muscles in balance-impaired older adults, resulting in significant improvements in functional balance ability and decreased fall risk.

      Key Indexing Terms

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