L Boyd
D Smith


Larissa Boyd, & Doug Smith

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma

The number of adults over age 60 is expected to double from 11% to 22% of the population by year 2050. One in three older adults fall per year, expecting to cost $54.9 billion dollars by 2020. Balance programs are necessary to combat the financial and physical costs of falls. Research has shown improvements in balance after training anywhere from 5 to 13 weeks in a range of 20 minutes to one hour per session. Few studies have examined the consequences of detraining among adults who engage in balance training. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the differences between adults over age 65 who performed balance tasks once or twice a week. METHODS: Participants (N=7) were assigned to a one day (OBG) or two day per week balance group (TBG). OBG (n=3) and TBG (n=4) participants completed 30 minutes of balance tasks each session for six weeks. Balance was measured by the Berg Balance Scale (BBS). The Activities Specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC) evaluated confidence. Assessments were completed at pre-test, three weeks, six weeks, and three weeks following training (detraining). RESULTS: A repeated measures ANOVA did not reveal a significant change between groups over time. After utilizing the Hunyh-Feldt correction to adjust for a significant violation of sphericity, results indicated significant changes in balance over time (p=.037). A Paired Samples test showed balance improved significantly from three weeks (M=45.00 ± 4.40) to post-test (M=47.86 ± 5.37, p=.001), and pre- (M=43.70 ± 5.376) to post-pest (M=47.86 ± 5.367, p=.001) among all participants. Confidence scores experienced a meaningful decrease from post-test (M=66.41 ± 7.03) to detraining (M=61.26 ± 15.63) quantified by a moderate to large effect size of 0.73. CONCLUSION: Balance appears to change over time regardless of training one or two days per week. This data suggests a training period of greater than three weeks is necessary to see improvements in balance, with more significant improvements occurring between three to six weeks of training. While positive effects on balance may be sustained longer than three weeks of detraining, confidence could be negatively impacted in this time period.

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