Effects of sensorimotor adaptation training on functional mobility in older adults

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2008 Sep;63(5):P295-300. doi: 10.1093/geronb/63.5.p295.


The goal of this study was to determine if prolonged exposure to perceptual-motor mismatch increased adaptability and retention of balance in older adults. Sixteen adults, aged 66 to 81 years, were randomized to one of two groups: either the control group (n=8) or the experimental group (n=8). Both groups first completed six trials of walking an obstacle course. Participants then trained twice a week for 4 weeks. In the training, the control group walked on a treadmill for 20 minutes while viewing a static visual scene and the experimental group walked on a treadmill for 20 minutes while viewing a rotating visual scene that provided a perceptual-motor mismatch. Following training, both groups were post-tested on the obstacle course. The experimental group moved faster through the obstacle course with fewer penalties. This training effect was retained for 4 weeks. Exposure to perceptual-motor mismatch induced an adaptive training effect that improved balance and locomotor control in older adults.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Postural Balance*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Visual Perception
  • Walking*