BACKGROUND: Deficits in static and particularly dynamic postural control and force production have frequently been associated with an increased risk of falling in older adults.
OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of salsa dancing on measures of static/dynamic postural control and leg extensor power in seniors.
METHODS: Twenty-eight healthy older adults were randomly assigned to an intervention group (INT, n = 14, age 71.6 ± 5.3 years) to conduct an 8-week progressive salsa dancing programme or a control group (CON, n = 14, age 68.9 ± 4.7 years). Static postural control was measured during one-legged stance on a balance platform and dynamic postural control was obtained while walking on an instrumented walkway. Leg extensor power was assessed during a countermovement jump on a force plate.
RESULTS: Programme compliance was excellent with participants of the INT group completing 92.5% of the dancing sessions. A tendency towards an improvement in the selected measures of static postural control was observed in the INT group as compared to the CON group. Significant group × test interactions were found for stride velocity, length and time. Post hoc analyses revealed significant increases in stride velocity and length, and concomitant decreases in stride time. However, salsa dancing did not have significant effects on various measures of gait variability and leg extensor power.
CONCLUSION: Salsa proved to be a safe and feasible exercise programme for older adults accompanied with a high adherence rate. Age-related deficits in measures of static and particularly dynamic postural control can be mitigated by salsa dancing in older adults. High physical activity and fitness/mobility levels of our participants could be responsible for the nonsignificant findings in gait variability and leg extensor power.
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