The purpose of this study was to examine age-related differences in maximal and rapid torque characteristics of the hip extensor muscles and dynamic postural balance in healthy, young and older females. Eleven younger (age, 26 ± 8 years) and 11 older (age, 67 ± 8 years) females performed 2 isometric maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) of the hip extensor muscles. Absolute and relative peak torque (PT) and rate of torque development (RTD) at early (0-50 ms) and late (0-200 ms) phases of muscle contraction were examined during each MVC. Dynamic postural balance was assessed using a commercially designed balance testing device, which provides a measurement of dynamic stability based on the overall stability index (OSI). Results indicated that absolute PT and early (RTD50) and late (RTD200) RTD variables were lower (p = 0.009-0.050), and postural OSI was higher (p = 0.011) in the old compared with the younger females; however, no differences were observed for relative PT or RTD variables (p = 0.113-0.895). A significant relationship was also observed in the older (r = -0.601; p = 0.050) but not the younger (r = -0.132; p = 0.698) females between RTD50 and OSI. The lower absolute PT and RTD and higher OSI values for the old females may contribute to the increased functional limitations often observed in older adults. The significant relationship observed in the older females between OSI and RTD50 perhaps suggests that these age-related declines in explosive strength may be an important characteristic relevant to dynamic balance scores, especially in older populations.
- falls risk
- isometric testing