Author(s)
Hill MW, Oxford SW, Duncan MJ, Price MJ
Date
2014-10-13
Source
Gait & Posture 41 (2015) 252–257

A B S T R A C T
Older adults are increasingly being encouraged to exercise but this may lead to muscle fatigue, which can
adversely affect postural stability. Few studies have investigated the effects of upper body exercise on
postural sway in groups at risk of falling, such as the elderly. The purpose of this study was to compare
the effects arm crank ergometry (ACE), cycle ergometry (CE) and treadmill walking (TM) on postural
sway in healthy older females. In addition, this study sought to determine the time necessary to recover
postural control after exercise. A total of nine healthy older females participated in this study.
Participants stood on a force platform to assess postural sway which was measured by displacement of
the centre of pressure before and after six separate exercise trials. Each participant completed three
incremental exercise tests to 85% of individual’s theoretical maximal heart rate (HRMAX) for ACE, CE and
TM. Subsequent tests involved 20-min of ACE, CE and TM exercise at a relative workload corresponding
to 50% of each individual’s predetermined heart rate reserve (HRE). Post fatigue effects and postural
control recovery were measured at different times after exercise (1, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 30-min). None of the
participants exhibited impaired postural stability after ACE. In contrast, CE and TM elicited significant
post exercise balance impairments, which lasted for 10 min post exercise. We provide evidence of an
exercise mode which does not elicit post exercise balance impairments. Older adults should exercise
caution immediately following exercise engaging the lower limbs to avoid fall risk.

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