Pilot study comparing changes in postural control after training using a video game balance board program and 2 standard activity-based balance intervention programs

Alessandra Pluchino, Sae Yong Lee, Shihab Asfour, Bernard A Roos, Joseph F Signorile
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2012, 93 (7): 1138-46

OBJECTIVE: To compare the impacts of Tai Chi, a standard balance exercise program, and a video game balance board program on postural control and perceived falls risk.

DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: Research laboratory.

PARTICIPANTS: Independent seniors (N=40; 72.5±8.40) began the training, 27 completed.

INTERVENTIONS: Tai Chi, a standard balance exercise program, and a video game balance board program.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The following were used as measures: Timed Up & Go, One-Leg Stance, functional reach, Tinetti Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment, force plate center of pressure (COP) and time to boundary, dynamic posturography (DP), Falls Risk for Older People-Community Setting, and Falls Efficacy Scale.

RESULTS: No significant differences were seen between groups for any outcome measures at baseline, nor were significant time or group × time differences for any field test or questionnaire. No group × time differences were seen for any COP measures; however, significant time differences were seen for total COP, 3 of 4 anterior/posterior displacement and both velocity, and 1 displacement and 1 velocity medial/lateral measure across time for the entire sample. For DP, significant improvements in the overall score (dynamic movement analysis score), and in 2 of the 3 linear and angular measures were seen for the sample.

CONCLUSIONS: The video game balance board program, which can be performed at home, was as effective as Tai Chi and the standard balance exercise program in improving postural control and balance dictated by the force plate postural sway and DP measures. This finding may have implications for exercise adherence because the at-home nature of the intervention eliminates many obstacles to exercise training.

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