Pierre Louis Bernard, Hubert Blain, Aurelie Gerazime, Olivier Maurelli, Jean Bousquet and régory Ninot
The aims of this study were (i) to define the relationship between a physical reconditioning cycle using balance exercises and muscular-articular stress and the balance capabilities of sedentary older adults and (ii) to assess whether older adults with weaker equilibrium abilities have a significantly limited progression. Our sample consisted of 338 people (263 women, 75 men) with an age, weight and height of 74.4 years (+/− 8.6), 67 kg (+/− 13.6) and 161.4 cm (+/− 8) and with a body mass index of 25.6 (+/− 4.3). The functional evaluations consisted of individual motor profile tests, monopodal eyes open and eyes closed for 30 s, a Timed Up and Go test (TUG) and stabilometric measurements on hard ground with eyes open for a duration of 25.6 s. The physical repackaging protocol was based on the 12-week Posture-Balance-Motricity and Health Education (PBM-ES) method with two 90-min weekly group sessions.
The evolution of the “posture” and “balance” variables was significantly associated with the equilibration capacities (p < 0.001). For unipedal stance with open eyes on the dominant and non-dominant sides, respectively, the progressions were significant for the profiles of middle (OR: 4.78 and 2.42) and low levels (OR: 4.34 and 1.66). Eyes-closed progressions were non-significant for the low-level balance profiles. For the COP Surface and Length variables, compared to those with high levels of balance, respectively, the progressions were significant for the middle- (OR: 1.41 and 2.98) and low-level (OR: 2.91 and 3.28) profiles.
After a 3-month bi-weekly PBM-HE program, we observed that sedentary older adults with the lowest initial level of balance progressed significantly more than high-level individuals, but only for basic motor abilities. It turns out that even among the most deconditioned people and older adults, very significant progress can be made. This increase requires an individualized training content focused on initial mobilizable capacities.