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Micah D. Josephson1, John G. Williams2

1University of Delaware, Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology, Newark, DE, USA
2West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Department of Kinesiology, West Chester, PA, USA

Functional-Strengthening: A Pilot Study on Balance Control Improvement in Community-Dwelling Older Adults


Adults over the age of 65 have a 1 in 3 chance of falling; in 2012, more than $30 billion was spent on medical costs due to these falls. The division of resistance training and neuromotor training balance improvement interventions has shown to yield low to moderate results. Athletes combine both resistance training and skill development (function) training to improve skilled performance. Older adults may not be performing high-level sports activities, but still require strength, power, and functional fitness levels to perform relatively high-level skills. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of combining resistance and functional training into functional-strength training on dynamic balance control in moderately active older adults. Eighteen healthy older adults were divided into three groups; functional resistance, standard resistance, and control. All groups met for their intervention twice a week for six weeks. Dynamic balance was assessed using the Fullerton Advanced Balance Scale (0-40). Results of individual paired T-tests showed a significant improvement in balance control in the functional resistance group (t(5) =-3.492, p=.017) and a very large effect size (d=1.33) whereas neither the standard resistance nor control group had a significant reduction in the risk of falls. Manipulating multidimensional, neuromotor function during resistance training exercises is an effective method of applying the overload principle in order to reduce falls risk in moderately active seniors.


Neuromotor, ADL, Falls risk, Overload progression, Functional training


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