Award Date

5-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Department

Physical Therapy

First Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Graduate Faculty Representative

Harvey Wallmann

Number of Pages

35

Abstract

Background and Purpose: Balance is an important part of everyday life for all individuals with many body systems interacting to achieve optimal balance. Proprioceptive organs aid in this interaction, while also acting as stretch receptors. Therefore, it is possible that stretching may influence the overall balance of the individual. The purpose of this study was to investigate the acute effects of stretching on dynamic balance of healthy young and elderly adults. The two groups were used to determine if stretching may discriminately affect balance at different ages.

Subjects: Thirty healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 35 (mean=25.8, SD=2.3) and 18 healthy elderly adults ages 65 and older (mean=72.0, SD=7.0) were included in this study. All subjects were recruited using email and word of mouth advertising.

Methods: Each subject performed the limits of stability (LOS) test twice before a 30 second static stretching protocol of the gastrocnemius and once thereafter. The LOS test was performed on the NeuroCom SMART Balance Master.

Results: There was a significant difference between the young and the elderly groups for all outcome measures on the LOS test at the first measurement (p0.016 with a Bonferroni corrected alpha of 0.01.

Discussion and Conclusion: These results indicate that short duration static stretching has little or no effect on dynamic balance regardless of age. This study also found a difference between young and elderly subjects’ performance on the LOS test.

Keywords

Balance; Calf – Muscles; Elderly adults; Equilibrium (Physiology); Gastrocnemius; Health and environmental sciences; Human beings — Attitude and movement; Limits of stability; Older people; Static stretching; Stretch (Physiology); Stretching exercises; Young adults

Disciplines

Exercise Science | Other Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Physical Therapy

Language

English