TRAINING WITH EYES CLOSED IMPROVES BALANCE
Amundsen, A., Kuffel, E., & Seiler, S. (2006). Postural balance training: effects of training mode and training frequency. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38(5), Supplement abstract 1084.
The purpose of this study was to 1) compare task-specific and general balance enhancement effects of two balance-training methods, and 2) examine the effect of training frequency on balance improvement. Ss (M = 64: F = 17) were divided into five groups. Two groups trained for 6 weeks by performing eyes-closed, one-legged balance training either one or three days per week. Two groups trained by performing with eyes open one-legged balance tasks on an air-filled balance pillow either one or three days per week. Total balance training exposures per session were equated across training modes. A fifth group served as an untrained control. Before and after the six-week training period, center-of-pressure stability was quantified during a one-legged stance with 1) eyes-closed, 2) eyes-open, and 3) eyes-open while standing on a cushion.
No significant improvement with eyes-open balance-pillow training was observed when tested with eyes closed, or with eyes open on a stable or unstable surface. Eyes-closed training improved significantly for eyes-closed, eyes-open stable, and eyes-open unstable surface conditions. There were no differences between one and three times per week performances. The control condition did not improve in any measure.
Implication. Training postural balance with closed eyes on a stable surface gives a robust training effect that is transferred to both eyes-open and unstable surface conditions. Training on an unstable surface does not improve unstable or stable surface balance.
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