Background: The effects of standing balance training on the ability to maintain stability in both static two-leg and one-leg stance were tested in healthy older adults.
Methods: Subjects (age range 65-90 years) were randomly assigned to a training (n = 12) or control group (n = 12). Training subjects received a 10-hour balance training program which selectively manipulated sensory inputs from the visual, vestibular, and somatosensory systems.
Results: Training subjects showed significantly improved stability (root-mean-square values of anteroposterior platform torque) after training in five of the eight training conditions (when somatosensory inputs were changed or when two or more sensory systems were simultaneously manipulated) (p < .006). When tested 4 weeks after completion of training, subjects (a) fell less frequently when the ankle/foot somatosensory inputs were minimized and (b) stood longer on one leg than the control group (p < .001).
Conclusions: Balance training designed to improve intersensory interaction could effectively improve balance performance in healthy older adults.