Adaptive changes in gait of older and younger adults as responses to challenges to dynamic balance

Helen L. Rogers, Ronita L. Cromwell, James L. Grady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study proposed to identify balance strategies used by younger and older adults during gait under proprioceptive, visual, and simultaneous proprioceptive-visual challenges. Participants ambulated under 4 conditions: consistent, noncompliant surface; inconsistent, compliant surface (C); consistent, noncompliant surface with vision obscured (NCVO); and inconsistent, compliant surface with vision obscured (CVO). Balance adaptations were measured as changes in gait velocity, cadence, and gait-stability ratio (GSR). Participants were 5 younger (mean age = 27.2) and 5 older (mean age = 68) healthy adults. Significant age differences were found for GSR (p = .03) on all surfaces. Older adults adopted a more stable gait pattern than younger adults regardless of the challenge presented by surface. Significant condition differences were found for velocity (p <.001) and cadence (p = .001). All participants exhibited significantly decreased velocity and increased cadence on surfaces C and CVO. Gait speed and cadence did not significantly change in NCVO. Younger and older adults exhibited similar adaptive balance strategies, slowing and increasing steps/s, under proprioceptive and proprioceptive-visual challenges to dynamic balance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of aging and physical activity
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Keywords

  • Balance perturbation
  • Healthy elderly
  • Proprioception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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