Exercise and balance in aged women: A pilot controlled clinical trial

Michael J. Lichtenstein, Sharon L. Shields, Richard G. Shiavi, M. Candice Burger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


A pilot controlled trial was conducted to determine the feasibility of testing an exercise program as a means of improving balance in aged women. A random sample of 50 women more than 65 years old was recruited from two apartment buildings. The buildings were randomized to serve as exercise and control sites. The 24 exercisers did not differ significantly from the 26 controls except that they were better educated and had better vision. The median compliance was 85% of requested sessions attended by the exercisers. Follow-up measures were obtained in 92% and 81% of the exercise and control groups, respectively. The outcome variables studied were changes in sway (areas and velocity of the center of force as measured using a biomechanics platform) in four stances with eyes open or closed, on two feet, or on one foot. After 16 weeks, in stances on one foot, exercisers had smaller areas compared to controls with eyes open, but larger areas with eyes closed. Subgroup analysis indicated that compliance with the exercise program was a determinant of degree of change in the area measures. The inconsistent effect of exercise on area measures of sway in this study may be due to (a) lack of statistical power to detect between-group differences, (b) inadequate compliance with the exercise program, (c) baseline differences between the two groups at randomization, and (d) ineffective or inadequate duration of the exercise program. We conclude that controlled clinical trials to study the effect of exercise on balance measures in community-dwelling elderly women are feasible. Representative samples of subjects can be successfully recruited, maintained on an exercise program, and followed with acceptably low dropout rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-143
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Balance
  • Biomechanics platform
  • Elderly
  • Exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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