Int J Sports Med 2004; 25(7): 539-546
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-820948
Training & Testing

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Effects of Brisk Walking on Static and Dynamic Balance, Locomotion, Body Composition, and Aerobic Capacity in Ageing Healthy Active Men

T. Paillard1 , 2 , C. Lafont2 , M. C. Costes-Salon2 , D. Rivière3 , P. Dupui1
  • 1Department of Physiology, School of Medicine,Toulouse, France
  • 2Department of Gerontology and Internal Medicine, Purpan University Hospital, Hôpital La Grave-Casselardit, Pavillon Junod, Toulouse, France
  • 3Departement for Exploration of Respiratory Function and Sports Medicine, Purpan, Toulouse, France
Further Information

Publication History

Accepted after revision: October 20, 2003

Publication Date:
24 May 2004 (online)


This work analyses the short-term physiological and neurophysiological effects of a brisk walking programme in ageing, healthy, active men. Twenty-one men 63 to 72 years of age were recruited and separated into 2 groups. One group performed a walking programme (WP) (n = 11) and another served as control (C) group (n = 10). The walking programme lasted for twelve weeks and included five sessions per week. Several parameters were assessed before and after the programme for the WP group. The same tests were performed (separated by twelve weeks) in group C. During each assessment, the subjects were put through static and dynamic balance tests, spatio-temporal gait analysis, body composition measurements and determination of aerobic capacity and bone mineral density. The statistic analysis showed a significant improvement in dynamic balance performance, especially in lateral sway when the subjects kept their eyes open, an increase of VO2 max and loss of fat mass in the WP group. However, no alterations appeared in spatiotemporal gait characteristics, static balance performance, lean mass or bone mineral density (total body and hip). According to these results, this walking programme may have positive effects on preventing ageing subjects from falling.


  • 1 Alexander N B. Postural control in older adults.  J Am Geriat Soc. 1994;  42 93-108
  • 2 Amblard B, Cremieux J, Marchand A R, Carblanc A. Lateral orientation and stabilisation of human stance: static versus dynamic cues.  Exp Brain Res. 1985;  61 21-27
  • 3 Aniansson A, Rundgren A, Sperling L. Evaluation of functional capacity in activities of daily living in 70-year-old men and women.  Scand J Rehab Med. 1980;  12 145-154
  • 4 Baloh R W, Fife T D, Zwerling L, Socotch T, Jacobson K, Bell T, Beykirch K. Comparison of static and dynamic posturography in young and older normal people.  J Am Geriat Soc. 1994;  42 405-412
  • 5 Baloh R W, Spain S, Socotch T M, Jacobson K M, Bell T. Posturography and balance problems in older people.  J Am Geriat Soc. 1995;  43 638-644
  • 6 Bessou P, Dupui P H, Montoya R, Pages B. Simultaneous recording of longitudinal displacements of both feet during human walking.  J Physiol (Paris). 1989;  83 102-110
  • 7 Blumenthal J A, Emery C F, Madden D J, Schniebolk S, Riddle M W, Cobb F R, Higginbotham M, Coleman R E. Effects of exercise training on bone density in older men and women.  J Am Geriat Soc. 1991;  39 1065-1070
  • 8 Braith R W, Pollock M L, Lowenthal D T, Graves J E, Limacher M C. Moderate- and high-intensity exercice lowers blood pressure in normative subjects 60 to 79 years of age.  Am J Cardiol. 1994;  73 1124-1228
  • 9 Brooke-Wavell K, Athersmith L E, Jones P R, Masud T. Brisk walking and postural stability: A cross-sectional study in postmenopausal women.  Gerontology. 1998;  44 288-292
  • 10 Buchner D M, Cress M E, Lateur B J, Esselman P C, Margherita A J, Price R, Wagner E H. A comparison of the effects of three types of endurance training on balance and other fall risk factors in older adults.  Aging (Milano). 1997;  9 112-119
  • 11 Carmeli E, Kessel S, Coleman R, Ayalon M. Effects of a treadmill walking program on muscle strength and balance in elderly people with down syndrome.  J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2002;  57 106-110
  • 12 Colledge N R, Cantley P, Peaston I, Brash H, Lewis S, Wilson J A. Ageing and balance: the measurement of spontaneous sway by posturography.  Gerontology. 1994;  40 273-278
  • 13 Conright K C, Evans J P, Nassralla S M, Tran M V, Silver A J, Morley J E. A walking program improves gait and balance in nursing home patients.  J Am Geriatr Soc. 1990;  38 1267
  • 14 Costes-Salon M C, Lafont C H, Dupui P H, Stephan E, Albarede J L, Bessou P. Modifications of spatio-temporal gait parameters and ageing: Kymographic analysis in 168 healthy volunteers.  L'Année Gérontologique. 1995;  9 439-457
  • 15 Gagey P M, Weber B. Posturologie. Paris; Eds Masson 1999: 165
  • 16 Golomer E, Dupui P, Bessou P. Spectrum analysis of dynamic equilibrium in healthy and injured athletes.  Int Arch Physiol Bioch Biophys. 1995;  102 225-229
  • 17 Gurfinkel V S. Physical foundations of stabilography.  Agressologie. 1973;  14 9-14
  • 18 Horack F B, Nashner L M. Central programming of postural movement: adaptation to altered support-surface configurations.  J Neurophysiol. 1986;  55 1369-1381
  • 19 Hytönen M, Pyykkö I, Aalto H, Starck J. Postural control age.  Acta Otolaryngol (Stockh). 1993;  113 119-122
  • 20 Judge J O, Lindsey C, Underwood M, Winsemius D. Balance improvements in older women: effects of exercise training.  Phys Ther. 1993;  73 254-265
  • 21 Judge J O, Underwood M, Gennosa T. Exercise to improve gait velocity in older persons.  Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1993;  74 400-406
  • 22 Kerschan K, Alacamlioglu Y, Kollmitzer J, Wöber C, Kaider A, Hartard M, Ghanem A H, Preisinger E. Functional impairment of unvarying exercise program in women after menopause.  Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1998;  77 326-332
  • 23 Kinkleman L L, Nieman D C. The effects of a walking program on body composition and serum lipids and lipoproteins in overweight women.  J Sports Med Phys Fitn. 1993;  33 49-58
  • 24 Larish D D, Martin P B, Mungiole M. Characteristic patterns of gait in the healthy old.  Ann NY Acad Sci. 1988;  515 18-32
  • 25 Ledin T, Kronhed A C, Möller C, Moller M, Odkvist L M, Olsson B. Effects of balance training in elderly evaluated by clinical tests and dynamic posturography.  J Vestib Res. 1990;  1 129-138
  • 26 Lord S R, Clark R D, Webster I W. Physiological factors associated with falls in an elderly population.  J Am Geriatr Soc. 1991;  39 1194-1200
  • 27 Maki B E, Holliday P J, Topper A K. A prospective study of postural balance and risk of falling in an ambulatory and independent elderly population.  J Gerontol Med Sci. 1994;  49 72-84
  • 28 Makrides L, Heigenhauser G J, Jones N L. High-intensity endurance training in 20- to 30- and 60- to 70-yr-old healthy men.  J Appl Physiol. 1990;  69 1792-1798
  • 29 Nashner L M. Adaptation reflexes controlling the human posture.  Exp Brain Res. 1976;  26 59-72
  • 30 Overstall P W, Exton-Smith A N, Imms F J, Johnson A L. Falls in the elderly related to postural imbalance.  Br Med J. 1977;  1 261-264
  • 31 Patat A, Foulhoux P, Huchet M, Menin Y, Venet R. Etude du comportement postural orthostatique d'une population de sujets âgés athéroscléreux à partir de l'analyse spectrale de leurs stabilogrammes.  Agressologie. 1985;  26 73-77
  • 32 Ring C M D, Nayak U S, Isaacs B. The effect of visual deprivation and proprioceptive change on postural sway in healthy adults.  J Am Geriatr Soc. 1989;  37 745-749
  • 33 Ringsberg K, Gerdhem P, Johansson J, Obrant K J. Is there a relationship between balance, gait performance and muscular strength in 75-year-old women?.  Age Ageing. 1999;  28 289-293
  • 34 Roberts B L. Walking improves balance, reduces falls.  Am J Nurs. 1985;  85 1397
  • 35 Shvartz E, Reibold R C. Aerobic fitness norms for males and females aged 6 to 75 years: A review.  Aviat Space Environ Med. 1990;  61 3-11
  • 36 Takagi A, Fujimara E, Suehiro S. A new method of statokinesigram area measurement. Application of a statistically calculated ellipse. Igarashi M, Black FO Vestibular and Visual Control of Posture and Locomotor Equilibrium. Basel; Karger 1985: 74-79
  • 37 Teasdale N, Stelmach G E, Breuning A, Meenwhen H J. Age differences in visual sensory integration.  Exp Brain Res. 1991;  85 691-696
  • 38 Tinetti M E, Mendes De Leon C F, Doucette J T, Baker D I. Fear of falling and fall-related efficacy in relationship to functioning among community-living elders.  J Gerontol: Med Sci. 1994;  49 140-147
  • 39 Winter D A, Prince F, Frank J S, Powell C, Zabjek K F. Unified theory regarding A/P and M/L balance in quiet stance.  J Neurophysiol. 1996;  75 2334-2343
  • 40 Winter D A, Patla A E, Prince F, Ishac M, Gielo-Perczak K. Stiffness control of balance in quiet standing.  J Neurophysiol. 1998;  80 1211-1221
  • 41 Woolf-May K, Bird S, Owen A. Effects of an 18-week walking programme on cardiac function in previously sedentary or relatively inactive adults.  Br J Sports Med. 1997;  31 48-53
  • 42 Wright B M. A simple ataxiameter.  Proc Physiol Soc. 1971; 
  • 43 Yoshida T. Age-dependent changes in dynamic body balance as evaluated by the body tracking test (BTT).  Nippon Jibiinkoka Gakkai Kaiho. 1997;  100 729-739

Thierry Paillard

Department of Physiology · School of Medicine

133 route de Narbonne

31062 Toulouse cedex 4


Phone: + 330562889050