Age-Related Changes in Postural Control in Physically Inactive Older Women

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Abstract

Background and Purpose:

The maintenance of postural control is influenced by the complexity of a given task. Tasks that require greater attention and cognitive involvement increase the risk of falls among older adults. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the adaptation of the postural control system to different levels of task complexity in physically inactive young and older women.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study was conducted with adult women classified as physically inactive based on the results of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. The participants were 27 young (20-30 years of age) and 27 older (60-80 years of age) women. Sway velocity of the center of pressure in the anterior-posterior and medial-lateral directions was calculated using a force plate under 6 conditions: standing directly on the force plate or on a foam placed over the force plate, eyes open or closed, and task complexity with and without the foam.

Results and Discussion:

A 2-way analysis of variance revealed that sway velocity increased in both groups when the task conditions were altered. The older women exhibited significantly greater sway velocity compared with the young women on all tasks. However, the patterns of postural control adaptation to the different levels of complexity were similar among all participants.

Conclusions:

In this study, the adaption of the postural control system to different levels of task complexity did not differ between physically inactive young and physically inactive older women. However, the physically inactive older women exhibited greater sway velocity compared with the young women.

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