Balance is considered a risk factor for several injuries and consequently a focus of many strengthening, injury prevention, and rehabilitation programs. There are several studies that have evaluated the ability of balance training to improve balance ability in a healthy population with no general consensus. We conducted a systematic review to evaluate the body of evidence regarding the effectiveness of balance training on improving various forms of balance ability in a healthy population. Three electronic databases and the reference lists of selected articles were searched. Studies were included that evaluated balance ability before and after healthy subjects performed a multisession balance training program. Two individuals reviewed all articles and agreed upon the selection criteria. Sixteen articles were selected, abstracted, and reviewed. Means and measures of variability were recorded to calculate effect sizes, and study quality was assessed using the PEDro instrument. There is strong evidence to suggest that balance training can improve static balance ability on stable and unstable surfaces, as well as dynamic balance ability. Elite athletes have the potential to improve static balance on an unstable surface and dynamic balance ability, but a ceiling effect appears to occur with stable balance ability on a stable surface. Balance training programs performed at least 10 minutes per day, 3 days per week, for 4 weeks that incorporate various methods of balance training appear to improve balance ability. Types of balance training included the use of tilt boards, unstable surfaces, and dynamic body movements while maintaining a static stance.
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