Acute effects of static stretching on passive stiffness and postural balance in healthy, elderly men

Ty B. Palmer, Chinonye C. Agu-Udemba, Bailey M. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: This study aimed to examine the acute effects of straight-leg raise (SLR) static stretching on passive stiffness and postural balance in healthy, elderly men. An additional aim of this study was to examine the relationships between stiffness and balance at baseline (prior to stretching) and the relationships between the stretch-induced changes in these variables. Methods: Eleven elderly men (age = 69 ± 6 years; height = 177 ± 7 cm; mass = 83 ± 13 kg) underwent postural balance and passive stiffness assessments before and after: 1) a stretching treatment consisting of four, 15-s SLR static stretches performed by the primary investigator and 2) a control treatment consisting of no static stretching. Passive stiffness was calculated from the slopes of the initial (phase 1) and final (phase 2) portions of the angle–torque curve. Unilateral postural balance was assessed on the right leg using a commercially designed balance testing device, which provides a measurement of static stability based on the overall stability index (OSI). Results: The slope coefficients and OSI values decreased from pre- to post-treatment for the stretching intervention (P = 0.015 and 0.018, respectively); however, there were no changes for the control (P = 0.654 and 0.920). For the stretching intervention, a significant positive relationship was observed between OSI and the slope coefficient of phase 1 at baseline (r = 0.619; P = 0.042). A significant positive relationship was also observed between the stretched-induced changes in OSI and the slope coefficient of phase 1 (r = 0.731; P = 0.011). No relationship was observed between OSI and the slope coefficient of phase 2 at baseline (r = 0.262; P = 0.437) nor was there a relationship between the changes in these variables (r = 0.419; P = 0.200). Conclusion: A short, practical bout of SLR static stretching may be an effective intervention for reducing passive stiffness and improving postural balance in healthy, elderly men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-86
Number of pages9
JournalPhysician and Sportsmedicine
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

Keywords

  • Straight-leg raise
  • aging
  • falls risk
  • hamstrings
  • range of motion

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