The effect of prolonged level and uphill walking on the postural control of older adults

Gregory Walsh, Daniel Low, Marcus Arkesteijn

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Abstract

Prolonged walking could alter postural control leading to an increased risk of falls in older adults. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of level and uphill prolonged walking on the postural control of older adults. Sixteen participants (64 ± 5 years) attended 3 visits. Postural control was assessed during quiet standing and the limits of stability immediately pre, post and post 15 min rest a period of 30 min walking on level and uphill (5.25%) gradients on separate visits. Each 30 min walk was divided into 3 10 min blocks, the limits of stability were measured between each block. Postural sway elliptical area (PRE: 1.38 ± 0.22 cm2, POST: 2.35 ± 0.50 cm2, p = .01), medio-lateral (PRE: 1.33 ± 0.03, POST: 1.40 ± 0.03, p = .01) and anterio-posterior detrended fluctuation analysis alpha exponent (PRE: 1.43 ± 0.02, POST: 1.46 ± 0.02, p = .04) increased following walking. Medio-lateral alpha exponent decreased between post and post 15 min’ rest (POST: 1.40 ± 0.03, POST15: 1.36 ± 0.03, p = .03). Forward limits of stability decreased between the second walking interval and post 15 min’ rest (Interval 2: 28.1 ± 1.6%, POST15: 25.6 ± 1.6%, p = .01) and left limits of stability increased from pre-post 15 min’ rest (PRE: 27.7 ± 1.2%, POST15: 29.4 ± 1.1%, p = .01). The neuromuscular alterations caused by prolonged walking decreased the anti-persistence of postural sway and altered the limits of stability in older adults. However, 15 min’ rest was insufficient to return postural control to pre-exercise levels
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Volume69
Early online date21 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • older adults
  • postural control
  • detrended fluctuation analysis
  • walking

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