A water-based training program that includes perturbation exercises improves speed of voluntary stepping in older adults: A randomized controlled cross-over trial Academic Article uri icon


  • A B S T R A C T This study evaluated the effects of a water exercise training program that includes perturbation exercises (WEP) to improve the speed of voluntary stepping reaction in older adults. Speed of voluntary stepping considered as an important skill to prevent a fall when balance is lost. In a single-blinded randomized controlled trial with a crossover design thirty-six independent old adults (64–88 years old) were divided into two groups. Group A received WEP for the first 12 weeks, followed by no intervention for the second 12 weeks. Group B did not receive intervention for the first 12 weeks and received WEP for the second 12 weeks. Voluntary Step Execution Test and postural stability in upright standing (eyes open and closed conditions) were measured at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks. A significant interaction effect between group and time was found for the step execution, due to improvement in initiation phase and swing phase durations in the WEP group. Also significant improvement in postural stability parameters in eyes open and closed conditions is noted. The present results indicate that the primary benefit of WEP that include perturbations to induce stepping, was a reduction in voluntary stepping times. The WEP generalized to a better control of balance in up-right standing.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013