Article Title



S. Johnston, T. Crawford, N. Halfman, R. Ellington, C. Papadopoulos

Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA

In the U.S., one in four older adults fall each year, making this the leading cause of injury in individuals 65 and older. To counter the chance of an injury occurring, exercise programs have been created to help older adults regain and maintain strength and balance. PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a 12-week agility program using foot drills for a group of older adults. METHODS: Twenty participants (age: 80.3 ± 8.8 yrs; body weight: 77.8 ± 14.3 kg; height:1.6 ± 0.1 m; BMI: 24.76 ± 4.2 kg/m2) were divided into an experimental (E) and reference (R) group. Once a week, the E group participated in an exercise program which primarily consisted of a collection of agility drills to improve mobility and balance. The drills were practiced in a random, progressive sequence and focused on enhancing motor and cognitive abilities. The R group was involved in an evidence-based program. Each participant completed a series of functional tests including the Functional Reach Test, Timed Up and Go, and Compensatory Reactive Balance. To determine differences within and between groups, a repeated-measures ANOVA was used. When significant interaction was found, a post hoc test was used to determine further statistical differences. Significance was established at p<0.05. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in the interaction of condition by time for the Functional Reach Test (p=0.27) and Timed Up and Go (p=0.94). However, there was a significant difference in the interaction for the Compensatory Reactive Balance (p=0.04). Post hoc analysis revealed that Compensatory Reactive Balance did not improve for the R group (p=0.65), but significantly improved for the E group (p=0.01) over 12 weeks. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that after twelve weeks of agility drills, balance may be increased in a group of older adults. However, further research is needed to investigate the program’s effectiveness.

Supported by West Region EMS Grant.

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