Physical activity and postural control in the elderly: Coupling between visual information and body sway
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Background: Aging is characterized by a decline in the postural control performance, which is based on a coherent and stable coupling between sensory information and motor action. Therefore, changes in postural control in elderlies can be related to changes in this coupling. In addition, it has been observed that physical activity seems to improve postural control performance in elderlies. These improvements can be due to changes in the coupling between sensory information and motor action related to postural control. Objective: the purpose of this study was to verify the coupling between visual information and body sway in active and sedentary elderlies. Methods: Sixteen sedentary elderlies ( SE), 16 active elderlies ( AE) and 16 young adults ( YA) were asked to stand upright inside a moving room in two experimental conditions: ( 1) discrete movement and ( 2) continuous movement of the room. Results: In the continuous condition, the results showed that the coupling between the movement of the room and body sway was stronger and more stable for SE and AE compared to YA. In the discrete condition, SE showed larger body displacement compared to AE and YA. Conclusions: SE have more difficulty to discriminate and to integrate sensory information than AE and YA indicating that physical activity may improve sensory integration. Copyright (C) 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.