Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 356–362 | Cite as

Effects of a physical activity program on postural stability in older people

  • Olivier A. Hue
  • Olivier Seynnes
  • Delphine Ledrole
  • Serge S. Colson
  • Pierre-Louis Bernard
Original Article


Background and aims: The objective of this non-randomized study was to determine the influence of a specific physical activity program on the postural stability of older people. Methods: Seventy-four subjects (72.4±0.7 yrs) participated in an individualized three-month physical activity program designed to improve posture, balance and mobility — the PBM program. Sessions were held twice weekly. Postural stability was assessed using a force platform, subjects being in static and dynamic conditions, and with open and closed eyes. Changes in stabilometric parameters (Sway area, ML mean, AP mean, Total length, ML length and AP length) of the intervention group were compared to those of 14 control subjects (71.8±1.5 years). Results: A two-way analysis of variance with repeated measures did not show any significant post-program change in postural stability in the hard floor condition. In contrast, Sway area (p<0.0005), Total length (p<0.001) and AP length (p<0.01) were significantly reduced after the training program in the foam floor condition, with open and closed eyes. In addition, in the mediolateral axis condition and with closed eyes, AP length in the intervention group was significantly reduced (p<0.01, and in the antero-posterior axis condition with both open and closed eyes, Sway area (p<0.0005), Total length (p<0.0005) and AP length (p<0.05) decreased significantly. Conclusions: As shown by the results in the foam floor and dynamic conditions, our individualized physical activity program improved the postural stability of older people when the standing position was challenged. However, the lack of significant results for the hard floor condition suggests that three months is not sufficient to improve static balance. The PBM physical activity program can be used for balance training in older people, but further studies are required to determine the time needed to effect improvements in static balance in this population.

Key Words

Balance elderly exercise postural stability stabilometry training program 


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Copyright information

© Springer Internal Publishing Switzerland 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivier A. Hue
    • 1
  • Olivier Seynnes
    • 1
  • Delphine Ledrole
    • 2
  • Serge S. Colson
    • 1
  • Pierre-Louis Bernard
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory of the Physiology of Adaptations, Motor Performance and Health, Faculty of Sport SciencesUniversity of Nice Sophia-AntipolisNice Cedex 3France
  2. 2.Communal Center of Social ActionCannes
  3. 3.Laboratory of Sport, Performance and Health, Faculty of Sport SciencesUniversity of MontpellierMontpellierFrance

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