Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine ( 2014 ) 13 , 349 - 357

Research article
The Association of Flexibility, Balance, and Lumbar Strength with Balance Ability: Risk of Falls in Older Adults
Emilio J. Martínez-López Emilio1, , Fidel Hita-Contreras2, Pilar M. Jiménez-Lara1, Pedro Latorre-Román1, Antonio Martínez-Amat2
Author Information
1 Research group HUM943 Laboratory, Department of Didactics of Musical, Plastic and Body Expression, Spain
2 Department of Health Sciences, University of Jaén, Spain

Emilio J. Martínez-López Emilio
✉ Dpto. Didáctica Musical, Plástica y Expresión Corporal, Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Educación (D-2), Campus Las Lagunillas. 23071, Jaén, Spain
Email: emilioml@ujaen.es
Publish Date
Received: 20-06-2013
Accepted: 09-01-2014
Published (online): 01-05-2014
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ABSTRACT

The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of a proprioceptive training program on older adults, as well as to analyze the association between flexibility, balance and lumbar strength (physical fitness test) with balance ability and fall risk (functional balance tests). This study was a controlled, longitudinal trial with a 12-week follow-up period. Subjects from a population of older adults were allocated to the intervention group (n = 28) or to the usual care (control) group (n = 26). Subjects performed proprioceptive training twice weekly (6 specific exercises with Swiss ball and BOSU). Each session included 50 minutes (10 minutes of warm-up with slow walk, 10 minutes of mobility and stretching exercises, 30 minutes of proprioceptive exercises). The outcome variables were physical fitness (lower-body flexibility, hip-joint mobility, dynamic balance, static balance, and lumbar strength) and functional balance (Berg scale and Tinetti test). The experimental group obtained significantly higher values than the control group in lower-body flexibility, dynamic balance, and lumbar strength (p = 0.019, p < 0.001, and p = 0.034 respectively). Hip-joint mobility, dynamic balance, and lumbar strength were positively associated with balance ability (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, and p = 0.014, respectively) and the prevention of falls (p = 0.001, p < 0.001, and p = 0.017 respectively). These findings suggest that a 12-week proprioception program intervention (twice a week) significantly improves flexibility, balance, and lumbar strength in older adults. Hip-joint mobility, dynamic balance and lumbar strength are positively associated to balance ability and the risk of falls in older adults. This proprioceptive training does not show a significant improvement in hip-joint mobility or static balance.

Key words: Proprioception, physical condition, training, physical qualities, swiss ball


           Key Points
  • A 12-week proprioceptive intervention program (two times per week) significantly improves flexibility, balance, and lumbar strength in older adults.
  • The risk of falls and balance ability are significantly improved after a training program with Bosu and Swiss ball in older adults.
  • An improvement in joint mobility, dynamic balance and lumbar strength is positively associated with balance ability and improved fall risk in older adults.
  • A 12-week proprioceptive intervention program (two times per week) does not show a significant improvement in hip-joint mobility and static balance.
 
 
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