Journal Article

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


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 minutes rest a period of 30 minutes walking on level and uphill (5.25%) gradients on separate visits. Each 30-minute walk was divided into 3 10-minute 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=0.01), medio-lateral (PRE: 1.33±0.03, POST: 1.40±0.03, p=0.01) and anterio-posterior detrended fluctuation analysis alpha exponent (PRE: 1.43±0.02, POST: 1.46±0.02, p=0.04) increased following walking. Medio-lateral alpha exponent decreased between post and post 15 minutes’ rest (POST: 1.40±0.03, POST15: 1.36±0.03, p=0.03). Forward limits of stability decreased between the second walking interval and post 15 minutes’ rest (Interval 2: 28.1±1.6%, POST15: 25.6±1.6%, p=0.01) and left limits of stability increased from pre-post 15 minutes’ rest (PRE: 27.7±1.2%, POST15: 29.4±1.1%, p=0.01). The neuromuscular alterations caused by 3 prolonged walking decreased the anti-persistence of postural sway and altered the limits of stability in older adults. However, 15 minutes’ rest was insufficient to return postural control to pre-exercise levels.

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Walsh, Gregory S.
Low, Daniel C.
Arkesteijn, Marco

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work


Year of publication: 2018
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-01-30

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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