Effects of a 4-week online stability ball exercise program on balance perceptions and body image in older adults 60 years of age and older


Balance training is an important part of physical activity for older adults to maintain or improve balance-related perceptions, which have been linked to the risk of falling or injury. In addition, there are physical changes associated with aging that can be maintained through physical activity to promote functionality and body image. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a 4-week online pre-recorded stability ball exercise class on balance perceptions and body image in adults 60 years of age and older. Thirty-seven participants completed online questionnaires assessing balance confidence, falls efficacy, satisfaction with body functionality and appearance, and physical self-efficacy before and after the training program. Enjoyment and intentions to continue the program were assessed post-program only. The training program consisted of a new pre-recorded stability ball class each week for 4-weeks, and participants were asked to complete each video at least 3 times per week. Participants self-recorded the number of classes completed and rating of perceived exertion weekly. Wilcoxon signed-ranked tests indicated no significant differences on balance confidence or falls efficacy (all p's > .05). Satisfaction with appearance was significantly higher following the exercise program (p < .001). For satisfaction with functionality and physical self-efficacy, paired-samples t-tests revealed no significant differences. Overall, participants enjoyed the classes and adhered well (93%). Findings also indicated online pre-recorded stability ball classes are safe and feasible in an at-home setting. Future research should investigate the impact on a wide range of outcomes, including balance performance.

Acknowledgments: Zaraa Zaman, Kimberley Gammage