The effect of a weighted-vest strength and balance training program on obstructed walking in postmenopausal women
Slack, Jill Patricia.
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SUMMARY Background: Age related declines in lower extremity strength have been associated with impaired mobility and changes in gait patterns, which increase the likelihood of falls. Since community dwelling adults encounter a wide range of locomotor challenges including uneven and obstmcted walking surfaces, we examined the effect of a strength 11 and balance exercise program on obstructed walking in postmenopausal women. Objectives: This study examined the effect of a weighted-vest strength and balance exercise program on adaptations of the stance leg during obstacle walking in postmenopausal women. Methods: Eighteen women aged 44-62 years who had not engaged in regular resistance training for the past year were recruited from the St. Catharines community to participate in this study. Eleven women volunteered for an aerobic (walking), strength, and balance training program 3 times per week for 12 weeks while 7 women volunteered as controls. Measurements included: force platform dynamic balance measure of the center of pressure (COP) and ground reaction forces (GRFs) in the stance leg while going over obstacles of different heights (0,5, 10,25 and 30 cm); and isokinetic strength measures of knee and ankle extension and flexion. Results: Of the 18 women, who began the trial, 16 completed it. The EX group showed a significant increase of 40% in ankle plantar flexion strength (P < 0.05). However, no improvements in measures of COP or GRFs were observed for either group. Failure to detect any changes in measures of dynamic balance may be due to small sample size. Conclusions: Postmenopausal women experience significant improvements in ankle strength with 12 weeks of a weighted-vest balance and strength training program, however, these changes do not seem to be associated with any improvement in measures of dynamic balance.