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REFERENCE: Verfaillie, D. F., Nichols, J. F., Turkel, E., Hovell, M. F. (1997). Effects of resistance, balance, and gait training on reduction of risk factors leading to falls in elders. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 5, 213-228.

The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of resistance training alone or in combination with balance and gait training on balance and gait measures in seniors. Subjects, ranging in age from 65 to 83 years, were randomly assigned to a strength and balance/gait group (SB, n = 21) or a control group (S, n = 18) receiving strength and relaxation training. Both groups significantly increased their strength and gait speed over the 12-week training period, but step length remained unchanged. The results suggest that elders can make significant gains in muscular strength and walking speed through resistance training, and that adding balance and gait training to resistance training can significantly improve some balance and gait measures beyond improvements achieved from strength training alone. If replicated, these results set the stage for investigations of injury control benefits possible from balance training.

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