Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Physical Therapy (M.S.)

Degree Program

Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Jane Toot

Second Advisor

Justine Ritchie

Third Advisor

Jennifer McWain


The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of aerobic exercise training to improve balance in healthy adults over age 65. Twenty-five habitual exercisers (mean age 75.3 yrs.) and 25 control subjects (mean age 72.8 yrs.) were recruited from a senior day center. Balance was measured by the functional reach test. A two-sample t-test revealed no significantly higher difference in the mean balance score of the exercise group compared to the control group. Regression analysis indicated that none of the other variables collected (age, group, or level of fitness) were significant predictors of the functional reach scores. There was insufficient evidence to conclude that regular exercise had an effect on the balance scores of the subjects. However, this outcome was affected by the small sample size of the study. A benefit of the exercise treatment may have been present but not detected. Future studies in this area might be improved by using larger control and treatment groups.


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