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Enhancement of anticipatory postural adjustments in older adults as a result of a single session of ball throwing exercise

Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate the role of short-term training in improvement of anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) and its effect on subsequent control of posture in older adults. Nine healthy older adults were exposed to self-initiated and predictable external perturbations before and after a single training session consisting of throwing a medicine ball. EMG activity of eight trunk and leg muscles and ground reaction forces were recorded before and immediately after the training session. Muscle onsets and center of pressure displacements were analyzed during the anticipatory and compensatory phases of postural control. The training involving throwing of a medicine ball resulted in enhancement of the generation of APAs seen as significantly early onsets of leg and trunk muscle activity prior to the bilateral arm flexion task. Significantly early activation of postural muscles observed prior to the predictable external perturbation, the task that was not a part of training, indicates the transfer of the effect of the single training session. The observed training-related improvements of APAs suggest that APA-focused rehabilitation could be effective in improving postural control, functional balance, mobility, and quality of life in the elderly.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported in part by the NIH Grant # HD064838. We also thank Bing Chen, Sailee Jagdhane, and Charlie Ma for help in data collection.

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Correspondence to Alexander S. Aruin.

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Aruin, A.S., Kanekar, N., Lee, YJ. et al. Enhancement of anticipatory postural adjustments in older adults as a result of a single session of ball throwing exercise. Exp Brain Res 233, 649–655 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-014-4144-1

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Keywords

  • Older adults
  • Anticipatory postural adjustments
  • Balance training
  • Motor learning
  • Ball throwing
  • Rehabilitation