September 2020



RQES: Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

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  September 2020 (Volume 91, Issue 3)

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Table of Contents

Free Access Article
/ Effects of Balance Training on Balance Performance in Youth: Are There Age Differences?
Simon Schedler, Katharina Brock, Fabian Fleischhauer, Rainer Kiss, and Thomas Muehlbauer

Purpose: In youth, cross-sectional studies reported age differences in balance performance that were in favor of adolescents. Thus, trainability of balance performance might be different in children compared to adolescents. The purpose of this study was therefore to compare the effects of balance training (BT) on balance performance between children and adolescents. Method: Thirty children (7.5 ± 0.5 years) and 42 adolescents (14.7 ± 0.5 years) participated in this study and were assigned to either a BT-group or a control (CON) group. In both age groups, BT was conducted over five weeks while the CON-groups received their regular physical education lessons. Pre- and posttests included the assessment of mobility, static steady-state, proactive, and reactive balance. Results: Significant Test × Group × Age interactions were found for static steady-state balance (i.e., CoP displacements during single leg stance) and mobility (i.e., 10-m gait velocity). For both measures, post hoc analysis revealed larger improvements (+16-37%, 0.001 ≤ p ≤ 0.033, 0.65 ≤ d ≤ 2.24) for children compared to adolescents. For proxies of proactive and reactive balance, we could not detect significant Test × Group × Age interactions. Conclusions: We conclude that trainability of static steady-state balance and mobility seems to be higher in children than in adolescents indicating larger adaptive reserves in children compared to adolescents. However, there were no age differences in adaptations to BT with respect to proactive and reactive balance.



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