B. Sanders, S.B. Barber, C. Papadopoulos

Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA

Amid the continual rise in the elderly population, grows the concern for health issues associated with an aging society. One of those health issues is falls. The risk for falls drastically increases with age, with one in three adults over the age of 65 experiencing a fall every year. Falls are a leading cause of injury-related death among the elderly. Exercise programs are one of the recommended forms of intervention for fall prevention in older adults. Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) is an evidence-based program that has been implemented in several facilities and even though the long-term effectiveness of this program on strength and balance has been evaluated previously, the acute effects of the exercise class on balance has not been evaluated. PURPOSE: To measure the effect of the SAIL exercise class on center of pressure and static balance in older adults. METHODS: Fifteen participants (age: 77.9 ± 10.2 yrs; weight: 73.8 ± 21.4 kg; height: 162.6 ± 9.3 cm) volunteered for a pretest-posttest designed experiment. The participants completed two balance tests lasting 20-s in duration during quiet bipedal stance. Participants were instructed to keep their eyes closed, while standing on a force plate platform before and after the exercise class. A two-tailed paired two-sample t-test was used to examine differences in center of pressure before and after the exercise. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. RESULTS: The average center of pressure before and after the class was 45.7 ± 33.3 cm and 39.2 ± 17.2 cm, respectively. The average change in center of pressure along the medio-lateral (ML) axis before and after the exercise was 1.32 ± 0.8 cm and 1.28 ± 0.65 cm, respectively. The average change along the anterior-posterior (AP) axis before and after exercise was 3.25 ± 1.4 cm and 3.32 ± 1.1 cm, respectively. This data was not statistically significant (p = 0.19). While most of the movement was seen in theML axis, there were no significant differences between axes before and after the exercise class. CONCLUSION: The results showed no significant difference in balance after one bout of a SAIL class in older adults. This data indicates that an exercise bout does not negatively impact balance in this population. Future research should assess the long-term effects of the SAIL exercise class on center of pressure and reactive balance.

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