Balance Training Reduces Falls Risk in Older Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Arthur I. Vinik, PHD3
  1. 1School of Physical Therapy, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia;
  2. 2Human Movement Sciences Department, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia;
  3. 3Strelitz Diabetes Center, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia.
  1. Corresponding author: Steven Morrison, smorriso{at}


OBJECTIVE This study assessed the effects of balance/strength training on falls risk and posture in older individuals with type 2 diabetes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Sixteen individuals with type 2 diabetes and 21 age-matched control subjects (aged 50–75 years) participated. Postural stability and falls risk was assessed before and after a 6-week exercise program.

RESULTS Diabetic individuals had significantly higher falls risk score compared with control subjects. The diabetic group also exhibited evidence of mild-to-moderate neuropathy, slower reaction times, and increased postural sway. Following exercise, the diabetic group showed significant improvements in leg strength, faster reaction times, decreased sway, and, consequently, reduced falls risk.

CONCLUSIONS Older individuals with diabetes had impaired balance, slower reactions, and consequently a higher falls risk than age-matched control subjects. However, all these variables improved after resistance/balance training. Together these results demonstrate that structured exercise has wide-spread positive effects on physiological function for older individuals with type 2 diabetes.


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    • Received September 11, 2009.
    • Accepted January 15, 2010.

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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 33 no. 4 748-750
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