Research News Flash
Studies have shown that impaired performance of trunk (core) musculature contributes to diminished balance and functional mobility in older adults. To determine the effect of a core muscle strengthening program on balance in community-dwelling older adults aged 65 to 85 years, participants were randomized to either a home-based core strengthening exercise program (n = 12) or a control group (n = 12). The intervention group exercised three times per week for six weeks. The progressive program consisted of eight exercises designed to increase strength and endurance of the core muscles. Outcome measures at baseline and follow-up included a curl-up test (muscle strength and endurance) and two tests of dynamic balance (functional reach test and Star Excursion Balance Test). The groups performed similarly at baseline, however following the six week intervention the exercise group demonstrated significantly greater improvements on all three tests as compared to the control group. In addition, participants in the experimental group who were at moderate risk of falls (n = 3) improved and were no longer considered to be at elevated risk at follow-up. Furthermore, core muscle strength and endurance was associated with improved performance on both dynamic balance tests. These results suggest that balance training programs for older adults should incorporate strengthening of the core muscles.
Kahle, N. & Tevald, M. A. (2014). Core Muscle Strengthening's Improvement of Balance Performance in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Pilot Study. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 22, 65-73.