Walking meditation promotes ankle proprioception and balance performance among elderly women.
J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2019 Jul ;23(3):652-657. Epub 2018 Oct 25. PMID: 31563384
BACKGROUND: Age-related change of proprioception affects body balance among the elderly. Walking meditation (WM)-a mindfulness practice-involves focusing on leg movements while walking slowly, possibly improving brain processes for perception and balance adjustments. This study investigates the WM's effects on ankle proprioception and balance among the elderly.
METHODS: Fifty-eight women aged 69.25 ± 6.06 were randomized into control (n = 29) and WM (n = 29) groups. The WM group engaged in 8 weeks of WM practice (30 min/day, 3 days/week). The absolute angular error of the ankle reposition test (AAE) was measured by an electrogoniometer. The balance performance was evaluated using the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Functional Reach Test (FRT), and Timed Up and Go test (TUG). Data were analyzed using two-way ANOVA and Bonferroni post hoc test and BBS with nonparametric statistics.
RESULTS: At baseline, the WM group's AAE, BBS, FRT, and TUG were 4.2 ± 1.6°, 51.3 ± 4.1 points, 21.7 ± 5.7 cm, and 11.1 ± 2.5 s, respectively, whereas those of the control group were 3.6 ± 2.0°, 51.0 ± 5.0 points, 21.6 ± 5.2 cm, and 10.2 ± 3.1 s, respectively. Post-training, WM group showed significant decrease in AAE (2.4 ± 0.9°) and displayed improvements in BBS, FRT, and TUG (55.4 ± 0.9 points, 29.1 ± 5.8 cm, and 8.1 ± 1.1 s, respectively) (p < 0.01). Conversely, the control group presented no change in AAE, significant decreases in BBS and FRT, and slower TUG (p < 0.01). No difference was found between WM and control groups at the baseline. However, post-training, WM group demonstrated significant improvements in AAE, BBS, FRT, and TUG as compared to the control group (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: WM practice improved the balance and ankle reposition sense among the elderly. It can be used as an alternative form of training to promote balance and ankle proprioception. The results supported that balance performance worsens among the elders who do not engage in physical training.