Would static-stretching exercises acutely affect the gait parameters in the older adults or not?

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Biomechanics, Faculty of Sports Sciences, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran

2 Department of Sports Injuries and Corrective Exercises, Faculty of Sports Sciences, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran



Introduction:Falling is one of the most important health issues among the elderly that can lead to irreparable injuries. Previous studies suggest that exaggerated hip muscle tightness is a common characteristic of the fallers. The present research aimed to analyze the effects of one stretching session on   the falling risk of older adults.
Methods: Fifteen healthy elderly men voluntarily participated in this research. They randomly divided into two control and experimental group with equivalent physical characteristics (n=25 in each group). The participants were excluded if they had problems that may affect their walking ability.  This study was quasi-experimental research. Kinematic gait analysis was executed by motion analysis system previous (PRE) and instantly following (POST) a set of characteristic static-stretching training for the hip flexor muscles on both limbs. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 22.
Results:The results of our study demonstrated a significant increase in walking speed and step length (P < 0.05) following one session of static-stretching training. Also, there was a significant decrease in double support time during the stance phase of walking (P < 0.05), proposing developed stability and mobility. The anterior-posterior pelvis tilt was also increased significantly in post-test in comparison with pre-test (P < 0.05). Some of the other gait parameters like toe clearance inhabited unchanged (P > 0.05) and the stable pattern of segmental angular velocities was suggested to analyze the stability of the unaltered gait parameters.
Conclusion: The findings propose that stretching training, applied on a systematic basis (e.g. daily exercises), result in gait adaptations which can be considered as indicative of decreased the risk of fall.