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Institut für Angewandte Bewegungswissenschaften
Technische Universität Chemnitz
Thüringer Weg 11
D - 09126 Chemnitz
Correlation between cognitive function and motor performance
Proprioception acuity as a predictor of posture control declines in older adults: The role of physical activity
Falls are a serious problem in the elderly. Around 30% of persons aged 65 and older sustain at least one fall each year. Falls frequently result in a reduced mobility, poorer quality of life and restrictions in activities of daily living. Thus, the prevention of incident falls is crucial for healthy aging.
Main reasons for the increased risk of falls in advanced age were considered to be deteriorations in the posture control system, characterized by changes in gait parameters and an increased body sway during quite standing. These changes in posture control are related to normal aging and are caused by deteriorations in posture control processing, declines in proprioception, and declines in strength. Further, it was observed that with increased age posture control and proprioception acuity are processed less automatically and require more cognitive resources (attention).
However, not all older subjects exhibit these age-related deteriorations to the same extent, thus it is assumed that older individuals are able to compensate their age-related degradations to an individual limit. Regular physical activity and exercise may be promising lifestyle factors to counteract the age-related deteriorations in posture control. However, the interrelationships between proprioception, posture control, the increased need of cognitive resources, and the influence on falls as well as the role of physical activity are not fully elucidated up to now.
Within my PhD project I will investigate if increases in the attentional costs of proprioception are related to decreased posture control while standing, to more pronounced age-related changes in walking performance and to falls. Further, I will focus on the question whether the baseline fitness level and a ten-weeks multicomponent exercise intervention consisting of endurance, strength, and balance exercises in healthy older adults have influence on proprioception acuity and its attentional costs, the postural sway and the efficacy of the postural system.
Prof. Dr. Claudia Voelcker-Rehage, TU University of Chemnitz, Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, Institute for Human Movement Science and Health (Professorship of Sports Psychology)