Internationale Zeitschrift für Physikalische Medizin und Rehabilitation

Internationale Zeitschrift für Physikalische Medizin und Rehabilitation
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ISSN: 2329-9096


The Effects of a 10-Week Group-Based Exercise Program on Lower Extremity Strength, Balance and Functional Mobility in Community- Dwelling Older Adults: A Pilot Study

Carol A Maritz, Neelam Patel, Lincy Varughese and Alexandra Yecco

Background: Many factors contribute to falls including strength deficits, balance impairments and fear of falling. Evidence suggests frequency of falls can be reduced through group-based exercise. Purpose: To 1) determine if a 10-week moderate intensity group-based exercise program focused on strengthening, conditioning and balance training would impact lower extremity muscle strength and functional mobility among healthy individuals 60 and over and 2) to examine the impact of this exercise program on specific quantitative aspects of balance including sway and stability using the Xeno Walkway System (Protokinetics). Number of subjects: Seventeen community-dwelling older adults (14 females, 3 males with a mean age of 77 years) participated in a group-based exercise program twice a week for 10 weeks. Methods: The program consisted of 45 minutes of exercise following: a 10-minute warm-up, flexibility exercises, upper and lower extremity strengthening exercises with weights and elastic bands, and balance training. Pre and post data were collected using the following measures: Timed Up and Go test to assess functional mobility; 30- Second Chair Rise test to measure functional lower extremity strength and endurance, and Xeno Walkway System to quantify changes in static (eyes open and closed) and dynamic balance (Four Square Step test). Results: Participation in a group-based exercise program resulted in statistically significant differences in Timed Up and Go scores (p=0.001), 30-second Chair Rise test (p=0.001), and Four Square Step test for duration (p=0.049) and velocity (p=0.004). No significant changes were noted in static balance.