Date of Graduation

8-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Health, Human Performance and Recreation

Advisor

Michelle Gray

Committee Member

Robert Elbin

Second Committee Member

Kaitlin Gallagher

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare reaction time and postural stabilization between activity groups in older adults. These variables are important because older adults are at a high fall risk and two major contributors to fall risk are postural stabilization and reaction time. This study examined if the activity group of an older adult had any influence on reaction time and postural stabilization. Fifty-nine older adults aged 66.46 ± 9.47 years old were used in the study. Thirteen subjects were in the master’s athletes which are individuals over the age of 40 who competed in a nationally sanctioned event within the last 6 months and complete at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, 27 were in recreationally active, which are individuals who complete at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week but do not compete, and 19 were in sedentary activity group, which are individuals who do not exercise at least 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise. Choice and simple reaction time were measured to determined how quickly the individual could respond to a stimulus. Postural stabilization was measured using a Biodex Balance System. After comparing the activity groups using one-way ANOVA’s, no statistically significant differences were found between activity groups in simple reaction time, F(2, 56) = 2.77, p = .07, choice reaction time F(2, 56) = 2.29, p = .11, or postural stabilization scores F(2, 48) = .697, p = .51. The cohen’s f test found moderate effect sizes in the simple reaction time, f = 0.31, and choice reaction time, f = 0.29. The cohen’s d test found the effect size was largest, d > 0.50 between sedentary and master’s athletes activity groups and between recreationally active and master’s athletes activity groups for all three variables. The main conclusion is that there were no significant differences between activity groups but that may be from the small number of subjects. The effect sizes showed a trend that master’s athletes had the best scores overall for each variable.

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