The effects of healthy aging on postural sway and its rambling and trembling components were studied. Young and elderly subjects stood quietly for 1. min in different postures, and with eyes open and closed. We found that age-related changes in postural sway and its components were similar to those observed in young participants in challenging conditions. These changes may therefore be viewed as secondary to the increased subjective perception of the complexity of postural tasks. Contrary to our expectations, stronger effects of age were seen in characteristics of rambling, not trembling. The commonly accepted hypothesis that older persons rely on vision more was not supported by this study: we found no significant interaction effects of age and vision on any of the sway characteristics. It was concluded that the reported higher reliance on vision in older persons may be task-specific. The results are compatible with the ideas that much of the age-related changes in postural sway emerge at the level of exploring the limits of stability and using the drift-and-act strategy. Our results suggest that the dominant view on rambling and trembling as reflecting supraspinal and peripheral mechanisms, respectively, may be too simplistic.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine