Postural control adaptability to floor oscillation in the elderly

Katsuo Fujiwara, Takeo Kiyota, Kaoru Maeda, Fay B. Horak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We established a method to evaluate postural control adaptability, applying it to 341 subjects, aged 18-29 years (young subjects) and 50-79 years, in order to investigate the influences of age and gender on adaptability. Subjects stood with eyes closed on a force plate fixed to a floor oscillator, which was sinusoidally oscillated in the anteroposterior direction with 0.5 Hz frequency and 2.5 cm amplitude. Five trials of 1-minute oscillation were conducted, with a short rest between trials. The mean speed of fluctuation of the center of foot pressure (CFP), as detected by the force plate, was calculated as an index of postural steadiness. Mean CFP speed decreased significantly in all age groups with trial repetition. The adaptability capability of elderly subjects was categorized as "good," "moderate," or "poor," as evaluated against a standard value, based on the variation of the regression of mean CFP speed between the 1st and 5th trials in young subjects. Results showed that the magnitude of reduction in the mean speed, with practice, was linearly related to the initial mean speed. We found a general decline in adaptability, and increase in initial mean speed, in subjects aged 60 years and older, with no gender difference detected in any age group. The proportion of subjects exhibiting moderate and poor adaptability increased gradually with age. In conclusion, age, but not gender, appears to affect adaptation of postural sway with short-term practice, although some elderly subjects maintain postural sway velocity and adaptability capabilities similar to those of young subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-493
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physiological Anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007


  • Adaptability
  • Aging
  • Floor oscillation
  • Gender difference
  • Postural control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Anthropology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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