Training balance and strength in the elderly to improve function

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1993 Mar;41(3):341-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1993.tb06716.x.


Short-term exposure to altered sensory input or destabilizing platform movement results in significant improvement in sway control and inhibition of inappropriate motor responses, resulting in improved balance during repetitive testing. In addition, there is recent evidence that strength and function can be increased in both active and frail elderly who participate in strength training programs. Therefore, the hypotheses to be tested are that (1) balance training alone, or (2) strength training alone will each be capable of significantly improving balance, gait, and functional mobility, and that (3) a combined program of balance and strength training will be more effective than either approach alone. These hypotheses will be tested relative to a control group, using a 2 x 2 design (30 subjects per group), in a community-dwelling elderly at least 75 years of age. Intervention sessions of at least 45 minutes will occur three times per week for 3 months, with 6 months of follow-up, home-based Tai Chi training. The primary outcome variable is a basic measure of functional balance, ie, the occurrence of loss of balance during tilts of the support and/or movement of the visual surround.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Connecticut
  • Exercise*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Postural Balance*