INTRODUCTION: The balance disorders are among the most common complaints of the elderly population and constitute a medical problem of high relevance. OBJECTIVE: To compare the influence of the practice of various methods of physical training and habit of walking on the balance of elderly residents in Jataí, Goias State, Brazil. MATERIALS AND METHODS: One hundred thirty-five elderly were divided into five groups according to the habit of walking and the sport practiced: sedentary (n = 39), active sedentary (n = 37), hidrogymnastics (n = 25), weightlifting (n = 10) and walking training (n = 24). Functional balance was assessed by the results achieved in the Berg Balance Scale. Data were expressed as mean and standard error deviation and compared by analysis of variance One-Way followed by Tukey's post hoc test (p < 0.05) using software SPSS 12.0. RESULTS: The sedentary and active sedentary groups assets reached values of 48.89 ± 0.87 and 52.45 ± 0.47, respectively in the scale. The elderly trained practitioners of hidrogymnastics had a score of 54.04 ± 0.33, the bodybuilders 53 ± 0.52 and walking training 53.45 ± 0.51. Statistical analysis showed that both active sedentary and trained groups had higher score on the Berg Scale compared with sedentary group (p < 0.05). There were no statistical differences between different groups of trained elderly and even those trained with the group of active sedentary group. CONCLUSION: Both the habit of walking as a regular practice of and hydrogymnastics, weightlifting and walking training for more than six months, increase the functional balance of the elderly.
Elderly; Training; Balance