Exercise interventions, postural control, and prefrontal cortex activation in older adults


Improving postural control in older adults is necessary for reducing fall risk, and prefrontal cortex activation may also play a role. We sought to examine the impact of exercise interventions on postural control and prefrontal cortex activation during standing balance tasks. We hypothesized that balance would improve and prefrontal control would be reduced. We assessed a subset of participants enrolled in a randomized trial of two exercise interventions. Both groups completed strength and endurance training and the experimental treatment arm included training on timing and coordination of stepping. Postural control and prefrontal cortex activation were measured during dual-task standing balance tasks before and after the intervention. Eighteen participants in the standard strengthening and mobility training arm and 16 in the timing and coordination training arm were included. We examined pre- to post-intervention changes within each study arm, and compared them between interventions. Results did not show any pre- to post-intervention changes on standing postural control nor prefrontal cortex activation in either arm. In addition, there were no differences between the two intervention arms in either balance or prefrontal activation. While exercise interventions can improve mobility, we do not demonstrate evidence of improved standing balance or prefrontal control in standing.

Brain and Cognition