Improving balance to prevent falls

Posted - December 2017 in Living with HSP - Management & Treatment News

Focus on front to back sway


Using a weighted vest equivalent to 10% of body weight while doing balance training and focusing on the front to back swaying motion when walking, rather than worrying about side to side sway, may be good strategies to improve balance and prevent falls, according to the findings of this study from Korea.



The aims of this study were to identify static and dynamic balance with the addition of weighted vests for the rehabilitation of paraplegic patients. The study was conducted using weighted vest exercises with applied optimal weight ratios.


Ten paraplegic patients who use custom orthoses were enrolled for experiments including static standing and dynamic gait with a weighted vest. We set weight ratios as 0%, 10%, and 15% of the patients’ weight. A plantar pressure device was used for static balance tests for excursion and velocity of center of pressure and we identified dynamic balance through the tool of Timed Up and Go (TUG) test.

A – static (standing) balance. B – dynamic (walking) balance


The results of static and dynamic balance in 0%, 10%, and 15% weight ratios did not have statistically significant differences, but we found an increasing tendency of sway excursion from non-weight (0%) to weight ratios (10%, 15%) in static balance when weight is applied. Sway excursion in antero-posterior direction is greater than medio-lateral sway. In dynamic balance, the TUG results showed a more delayed time when weight ratios were applied.


In conclusion, we have to focus on balance training with antero-posterior direction to upgrade a patient’s balance and prevent falls. Exercises with weighed vests are more useful than non-weighted but there is no difference between 10% and 15% weight ratios. Weighted vest exercises may play a role in the rehabilitation of balance in those with paraplegia.



SOURCE: J Exerc Rehabil. 2017 Jun 30;13(3):348-352. doi: 10.12965/jer.1734984.492. eCollection 2017 Jun. PMID: 28702448


Study of gait using weighted vests on balance with paraplegic patients.


Choi HJ1,2, Kang HJ3.


1 Department of Physical Education, Graduate School, Soonchunhyang University, Asan, Korea.

2 Korea Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Institute, Incheon, Korea.

3 Department of Sports Medicine, College of Natural Sciences, Soonchunhyang University, Asan, Korea.

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