The elderly people often lose their balance while walking and in sudden movements but now a study suggests that they can improve their balance and prevent falls with a simple training exercise of catching a weighted medicine ball.
Losing balance is common among the people as they age, and the anticipatory postural control or the ability to ready themselves to maintain balance is often the greatest loss among the old people. Moreover, the resources for maintaining balance get limited on a modern city life and people become less stable and more prone to falls, note studies.
“Our group is the first to look at whether a specially designed rehabilitation protocol can enhance postural control adjustment and subsequently improve overall balance,” said Alexander Aruin, professor of physical therapy at University of Illinois at Chicago.
As part of their experiment, the researchers asked a group of healthy young adults to stand and catch a medicine ball. In the another study, they asked the same of a group of healthy older adults and measured the electrical activity of leg and trunk muscles.
The differences in the two age groups’ ability to generate anticipatory postural adjustments both before and after the single short training session showed that with training, certain improvement can be achieved among the older adults as well.
When trained to catch the weighted medicine ball, the older adults not only improved their balance but also they were also improving in other fields of performance.
“There was a transfer effect,” Aruin said. The findings have been published in two journals: Electromyography and Kinesiology, and Experimental Brain Research.