Motor imagery training in older adults

...does it improve balance, mobility and falls?

As we age, deteriorations in balance and mobility contribute to disability, falls and mortality--all of which places greater strains on the healthcare system.

Allied health professionals such as physiotherapists are faced with increased geriatric admission rates and workload pressures to ensure adequate rehabilitation for their older patients via targeted balance, strength and functional training.

Some groups are harder to deliver an adequate training stimulus to, such as those with medically enforced restrictions on mobility or those who are afraid to continue exercise without supervision.

Motor imagery involves imagining undertaking a physical action but without actually physically executing the action. This activates regions of the brain that are normally activated during actual task performance.

Some studies have shown that this repeated mental rehearsal of a movement task improves subsequent physical performance of the task. Clinically relevant benefits have been obtained from motor imagery when used in various neurological patient groups (like stroke or Parkinson's disease), but only recently has the evidence about motor imagery in older people without neurological conditions been complied.


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