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Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy

Print version ISSN 1413-3555On-line version ISSN 1809-9246


ABREU, SSE  and  CALDAS, CP. Gait speed, balance and age: a correlational study among elderly women with and without participation in a therapeutic exercise program. Rev. bras. fisioter. [online]. 2008, vol.12, n.4, pp.324-330. ISSN 1809-9246.

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown that the aging process is associated with changes to gait patterns and balance. Analysis of these motor functions contributes towards identifying situations with the risk of falling. Such events are a serious public health problem. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether there were correlations between gait speed, body balance and age in two groups of elderly women, one that participated in a therapeutic exercise program and the other did not. In addition, the two groups were compared in these variables. METHODS: This was an observational study, conducted among 40 elderly female volunteers aged between 65 and 89 years, who were recruited at a social center for the elderly. They were divided into two groups: one group of 20 elderly women who participated in a therapeutic exercise program and another group of 20 who did not participate in the program. The subjects' normal gait speed was measured and two balance scales were applied: Berg's balance scale and Tinetti's Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment of Gait and Balance (POMA). RESULTS: The results obtained did not reveal significant correlations between gait speed and body balance. CONCLUSIONS: It was shown that, independent of a good degree of balance, gait speed declined with age in both groups.

Keywords : gait; balance; woman; elderly person.

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