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Adaptive Control of Dynamic Balance across the Adult Lifespan.

Authors
  • Vervoort, Danique
  • Buurke, Tom J W1
  • Vuillerme, Nicolas
  • Hortobágyi, Tibor1
  • DEN Otter, Rob1
  • Lamoth, Claudine J C1
  • 1 Center for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, THE NETHERLANDS. , (Netherlands)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Medicine and science in sports and exercise
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2020
Volume
52
Issue
10
Pages
2270–2277
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002349
PMID: 32301854
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The ability to adapt dynamic balance to perturbations during gait deteriorates with age. To prevent age-related decline in adaptive control of dynamic balance, we must first understand how adaptive control of dynamic balance changes across the adult lifespan. We examined how adaptive control of the margin of stability (MoS) changes across the lifespan during perturbed and unperturbed walking on the split-belt treadmill. Seventy-five healthy adults (age range, 18-80 yr) walked on an instrumented split-belt treadmill with and without split-belts. Linear regression analyses were performed for the mediolateral (ML) and anteroposterior (AP) MoS, step length, single support time, step width, double support time, and cadence during unperturbed and perturbed walking (split-belt perturbation), with age as predictor. Age did not significantly affect dynamic balance during unperturbed walking. However, during perturbed walking, the ML MoS of the leg on the slow belt increased across the lifespan due to a decrease in bilateral single support time. The AP MoS did not change with aging despite a decrease in step length. Double support time decreased and cadence increased across the lifespan when adapting to split-belt walking. Age did not affect step width. Aging affects the adaptive control of dynamic balance during perturbed but not unperturbed treadmill walking with controlled walking speed. The ML MoS increased across the lifespan, whereas bilateral single support times decreased. The lack of aging effects on unperturbed walking suggests that participants' balance should be challenged to assess aging effects during gait. The decrease in double support time and increase in cadence suggests that older adults use the increased cadence as a balance control strategy during challenging locomotor tasks.

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