Perceptual Learning Exercises: An adjunct to Balance Exercises for Normal Healthy Geriatric Population
Background & Objective: Decreased ability to maintain balance may be associated with an increased risk of falling. In older adults, falls commonly leads to injury, loss of independence, associated illness and early death. Although some exercise interventions with balance and muscle strengthening components have been shown to reduce falls but it is not known which element or combination of elements, of exercise interventions are most effective for improving balance in older people. Age-related changes in the ability to adjust to alterations in sensory information contribute to impaired postural stability. The purpose of this randomized controlled trial was to investigate the effect of perceptual learning exercises on static balance in normal healthy geriatric population.
Method: A total of 28 healthy elderly subjects (19 female & 9 male) participated in this randomized two-group parallel controlled trial. The whole population was divided into Control (group A) & Experimental (group B) by convenient sampling method. Static balance in terms of Postural sway of all subjects was measured with the help of trivially made Swaymeter before and after treatment protocol.
Intervention: The experimental group received Perceptual Learning exercises i.e. hardness discrimination task using three different levels of hardness of a rubber sponge for 10 days whereas Control group received Conventional physiotherapy exercises for postural control such as maintenance of standing balance with forward & backward perturbations, shift of the weight loads to both side of the foot on the health meter and tandem walking.
Results: Multivariable ‘t’ test (dependent and independent) showed that the group receiving hardness discrimination tasks showed remarkable decrease in postural sway, meaning statistical significant effect in improving static balance at most of the intervals.