Backward walking training improves balance in school-aged boys

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Authors: Wei-Ya Hao and Yan Chen
Date: Oct. 22, 2011
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 4,605 words
Lexile Measure: 1420L

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Abstract :

Background Falls remain a major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality. It is suggested that backward walking (BW) may offer some benefits especially in balance and motor control ability beyond those experienced through forward walking (FW), and may be a potential intervention for prevention of falls. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of BW on balance in boys. Methods Sixteen healthy boys (age: 7.19 [+ -] 0.40 y) were randomly assigned to either an experimental or a control group. The experimental group participated in a BW training program (12-week, 2 times weekly, and 25-min each time) but not the control group. Both groups had five dynamic balance assessments with a Biodex Stability System (anterior/posterior, medial/lateral, and overall balance index) before, during and after the training (week- 0, 4, 8, 12, 24). Six control and six experimental boys participated in a study comparing kinematics of lower limbs between FW and BW after the training (week-12). Results The balance of experimental group was better than that of control group after 8 weeks of training (P [less than] 0.01), and was still better than that of control group (P [less than] 0.05), when the BW training program had finished for 12 weeks. The kinematic analysis indicated that there was no difference between control and experimental groups in the kinematics of both FW and BW gaits after the BW training (P 0.05). Compared to FW, the duration of stance phase of BW tended to be longer, while the swing phase, stride length, walking speed, and moving ranges of the thigh, calf and foot of BW decreased (P [less than] 0.01). Conclusion Backward walking training in school-aged boys can improve balance.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A276647052