2008 Volume 11 Issue 1 Pages 7-13
The objective of this study was to assess the effect of comprehensive exercise program widely accepted as a community-based physical intervention for the prevention of falling in the elderly persons on their controlling standing balance. Twenty-six community-dwelling elderly persons (13 males and females; 69.8 ± 2.8 years old) participated in this study. Daily exercise was comprised of walking for more than 30 min, stretching, muscle strengthening and balance exercise without exercise equipments. The intervention was continued for three months. Indicators of standing balance related to static balance, dynamic balance and postural response were measured before and after the intervention. As an effect of the intervention on static balance, the sway of center of pressure (COP) in the static stance significantly increased. In the dynamic balance, significant improvements were observed in one leg standing time, the 10-m gait time, functional reach. Additionally, the maximal movable length of COP which subjects can move voluntarily to right and left significantly increased. In the postural response, the integrated electromyography (IEMG) induced by postural response for sudden postural perturbation significantly decreased in the lower leg muscles. Since less muscular activities were sufficient to maintain posture, it was suggested that postural response was elicited more efficiently following the intervention. This study suggested that the comprehensive exercise program, which has been widely introduced as community-based interventions for the prevention of falling, have extensive effects on the control of standing balance covering static balance, dynamic balance and postural response in the elderly persons.