Date of Graduation

12-2017

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

Nicholas Greene

Second Committee Member

Tyrone Washington

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine whether different habitual activity levels may affect balance ability in older adults. Balance must be studied as poor balance increases likelihood of falls. This study examined activity levels in older adults and effect on balance ability. Fifty-nine older adults aged 66.5 ± 9.5 participated. Three groups were separated by physical activity level. First group had 13 masters athletes, older adults performing least 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week and competing in nationally sanctioned event within the last six months. Twenty-seven older adults comprised recreationally active group performing at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week but no competitive events within previous six months. The last group is sedentary older adults with 19 individuals performing less than 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. Postural stabilization was measured using Biodex Balance System SD. Using one-way ANOVA, no statistically significant differences were found between three activity groups in postural stabilization (p = .51). Groups were redefined for post hoc analysis using distance results from six-minute walk test as a measure of physical fitness. Results were divided into thirds and classified into physical function levels. Group one, walking the fewest meters, was least fit. Group 2 walked the next fewest meters with middle level of physical function. Group 3 completed most meters, therefore most physically fit. By comparing fitness groups using one-way ANOVA, no statistically significant differences were found in postural stability (p = .75). Subjects were divided into three groups to test for age effects. The young group consisted of 13 adults aged 54-59 years old. Twenty-one adults aged 60-69 were the middle group, while 17 adults aged 70-91 were the older group. No statistically significant difference was found in age groups (p = .48). Thirty-two females and 27 males were compared for sex differences. A significant difference was found (p = .001) with females exhibiting better postural stability. In conclusion, neither habitual activity level nor physical function level influence postural stability in older adults. Age does not play a significant role in postural stability, but one’s sex may have an effect.

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