Lee DJ(2010) Effects of static and dynamic  balance of task oriented training for patients  in water or on land

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to give task-oriented training to stroke patients in waterand on land and compare their static balance and dynamic balance. A total of 10 types of task-orientedtraining were given in water and on land.

Subjects: A total of 34 patients received training for 50 minutes,three times a week, for 12 weeks.

Methods: The 34 patients were randomly divided into an in-watertraining group and an on-land training group. The patients received the same task-oriented training for 12weeks. [Results] When the groups’ static balance was compared, the in-water training group showedsignificant improvements in anteroposterior velocity (mm/s) and mediolateral velocity (mm/s) with eyesopen (EO) and eyes closed (EC). The on-land training group showed significant improvements in valuesother than anteroposterior velocity (mm/s) with EC. When the groups’ dynamic balance was compared,there was a statistically significant difference between the groups at 12 weeks. The in-water training groupshowed significant reductions in the time and distance taken to implement a task.

Conclusion: Accordingto the results, task-oriented training received by chronic stroke patients in water was more effective atimproving static balance and dynamic balance than on-land training.

Original ArticleJ. Phys. Ther. Sci.
22: 331336, 2010
Effects on Static and Dynamic Balance of
Task-Oriented Training for Patients in Water
or on Land
DONGJIN LEE, PT, PhD1), TAESUNG KO, PT, PhD2), YOUMI CHO, PT, MS3)
1)
Department of Physical Therapy, Gwangju Health College University:
6833, Sinchang-dong, Gwangsan-gu, Gwanju 506-701, South Korea. TEL +82 62-958-7776
2)Department of Physical Therapy, Daewon University College3)Department of Physical Therapy, Shinsung University
Abstract. Purpose The purpose of this study was to give task-oriented training to stroke patients in water
and on land and compare their static balance and dynamic balance. A total of 10 types of task-oriented
training were given in water and on land. Subjects A total of 34 patients received training for 50 minutes,
three times a week, for 12 weeks. Methods The 34 patients were randomly divided into an in-water
training group and an on-land training group. The patients received the same task-oriented training for 12
weeks. Results When the groups static balance was compared, the in-water training group showed
significant improvements in anteroposterior velocity (mms) and mediolateral velocity (mms) with eyes
open (EO) and eyes closed (EC). The on-land training group showed significant improvements in values
other than anteroposterior velocity (mms) with EC. When the groups dynamic balance was compared,
there was a statistically significant difference between the groups at 12 weeks. The in-water training group
showed significant reductions in the time and distance taken to implement a task. Conclusion According
to the results, task-oriented training received by chronic stroke patients in water was more effective at
improving static balance and dynamic balance than on-land training.
Key words: Balance, Task-oriented training, Water
(This article was submitted Mar. 1, 2010, and was accepted Apr. 10, 2010)
INTRODUCTION
Preventing falls is an important objective in the
rehabilitation of acute or chronic stroke patients.
Risk factors of falls include balance or gait
impairment, difficulties in activities of daily living,
inactivity, visual impairments, and reduced lower
limb strength
1). When balance has been impaired
due to reduction in the weight bearing capacity of a
stroke patients paretic lower limbs, the stability of
the body is impaired due to increased postural
sways and reduced static reactions
2). The deficits in
balance, gait, etc of chronic hemiparetic stroke
patients become important determinants ofambulatory activity levels
3). Among stroke
patients, balance problems while dressing are the
strongest risk factors for falling (odd ratio, 7.0) and
residual balance problems are also a strong risk
factor of falling
4).
A motor learning model for the physical
rehabilitation of stroke patients has been proposed
5).
The absence of ongoing exercise or activity
programs after patients are discharged from a
rehabilitation center is becoming much overlooked
factor that can exacerbate a patients disability or
handicap. Task-oriented training is designed to
provide opportunities to practice tasks while
increasing weakened muscular strength in order to

J. Phys. Ther. Sci. Vol. 22, No. 3, 2010 332
overcome the factor held to be inhibiting
improvement of chronic stroke patients functions.
In addition, since many individuals can participate
in the training simultaneously, this type of training
helps reduce related costs
6).
The inherent characteristics of water include
hydrostatic pressure, buoyancy, and density, while
dynamic characteristics including streamline and
friction resistance created by turbulent water flows,
work as advantages that enable human bodies to
practice balanced and coordinated motions in
water
7). Exercises in water can provide special
rehabilitation environments suitable for patients
with functional limitations, and improves in balance
through the resistance of water against the upper
limbs, the lower limbs, and the body. These are
some of the beneficial effects of training in water,
and on-land training programs can be appropriately
transformed into in-water programs
8). Researchers
have reported that, in patients with arthritis, in-
water exercises improved muscular strength,
reduced pain, and improved flexibility,
coordination, balance and agility
9). In addition,
water exercises have been reported to be effective at
promoting stroke patients and late poliomyelitis
patients cardiovascular fitness (VO
2max), maximal
workload, muscle strength, peak load, and fitness at
the peak heart rate. However, the improvement of
balance achieved by water exercises was not
significant
10,12). On the other hand, task-related
exercises on land designed to strengthen the lower
extremities enhanced the Berg balance score, speed,
and distance
13). Individual studies show some
differences among the effects related to balance in
water after muscle strengthening, and stretching,
however, studies on the balance of stroke patients
during in-water exercises are insufficient.
The purpose of this study was to examine the
effects on dynamic and static balance of chronic
stroke patients given the same task-oriented training
in water or on land to prevent falling.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
Subjects
Thirty-four chronic stroke patients participated in
the experiment. All the patients were outpatients
who visited a rehabilitation center located in
Cheongju, South Korea. The study subjects were
selected from those patients, who voluntarily agreed
to participate in the experiment, couldindependently walk at least 10 m, had a Brunnstrom
stage 4 or higher lower limb recovery stage, had a
mini-mental state examination (MNSE) score of at
least 24, and had a Modified Barthel Index (MBI) of
at least 75. Patients who had any other neurological
deficit or serious damage to their vision were
excluded. Since the study was carried out at two
separate locations, the randomization was done in
blocks. Seventeen patients (10 males and 7
females: mean age 62.06 13.36) formed the water-
based training group (WG), and 17 patients (6 males
and 11 females: mean age 61.41 8.44) formed the
land-based training group (LG). Informed consent
was received from all of the participants in the
experiment, and the experiment was carried out as a
single blinded experiment.
Methods
In-water exercises were conducted using a total of
10 tasks. The exercise intensity was Borg category
scale 11 (fairly light) and 13 (somewhat hard) as
measured by the Rating of Perceived Exertion
(RPE)
9). The exercise methods were created by
applying the methods used in previous studies
conducted in water and on land
12,14). The 10 tasks
were as follows. (1) Warming-up included arm
lifts, ankle circles, and stretching of the trunk, thigh
and calf muscles. (2) Balance tasks included
standing against the resistance of water with feet in
parallel and tandem. (3) Heel lifts. (4)
Coordination and muscular strength tasks included
lifting one leg with adduction and abduction
movements of the legs, and drawing an 8 on the
ground with the feet. (5) Balance and muscular
strength tasks included stepping forward, backward,
and sideways. (6) Balance and ability to move tasks
included unilateral and bilateral slow arm
movements and slow forward and backward
walking. (7) Endurance and ability to move tasks
included walking forward and backward as fast as
possible, jogging in place with arm movements, and
walking sideways first to one side and then to the
other as fast as possible. (8) Ability to move tasks
included a dual task of moving while holding a ball
in the unaffected hand and stopping on a verbal
order given by the physical therapist. (9) Mobility
and balance in turning task included walking 3 m,
turning around a target point and coming back. (10)
Cooling-down included arm lifts, ankle circles, and
stretching of the trunk, thigh, and calf muscles.
Each task was carried out for 4 minutes followed by

333
a rest for 1 minute, and thus the tasks were carried
out for 50 minutes in total.
The pool was 14 m 5 m and 1.25 m to 1.5 m in
depth, and was constructed to be suitable for
carrying out general gait training and diverse tasks.
The temperature of the water was maintained at 33
34 C, which is higher than the temperature of
general swimming pools, 25 28 C, in order to
prevent sudden muscular contractions due to
shivering from cold temperatures and to maximize
the treatment effects
15).
The 10 tasks were carried out as on-land exercises
for 50 minutes at the same RPE intensity, 1113.
For the second task, the water resistance was
replaced by appropriate resistance given by physical
therapists. The in-water and on-land exercise
programs were implemented by four physical
therapists educated in the exercise programs for 12
weeks. In addition, during the in-water and on-land
exercises, if any patient reported a side effect such
as dizziness, the patient was instructed to stop the
exercise immediately.
In this study, balance was measured using the
Good balance system (Metitur Co., Ltd., Jyvskyl,
Finland). This equipment has been commercialized
as equipment for measuring the static and dynamic
balance of the elderly, stroke patients, etc. and is
widely used
16,17). Static balance was measured with
the moving line drawn by the center of pressure
formed on the force plate from the center of the
body weight of the patient in the direction of gravity
by assuming the left-right sway direction and the
front-rear sway direction as X and Y axes and
measuring the average velocity on the individual
axes as the mediolateral velocity and the
anteroposterior velocity in units of mms. The
measuring methods used included measuring for 30
seconds while the patient kept his or her eyes open
and measuring for 30 seconds while the patient kept
his or her eyes closed. The dynamic balance was
measured with the time (sec) and distance (mm)
taken to move from the center point to each target
and then come back. Before measuring, the patients
were sufficiently informed about how to use the
equipment. SPSS (SPSS Inc, version 12.0) program
was used for statistical analyses. Before the
experiment, independent t-tests were conducted to
test the homogeneity of each group, and Pearsons
2 test was conducted to test the homogeneity of the
gender, diagnosis, and number of affected patients.
The independent t-test was used to compare thewater-based training group with the land-based
training group at baseline and 12 weeks. The paired
t-test was used to compare the status of each group
before the experiment with the patients status at the
end of the experiment. Values with p0.05 were
recognized as being significant.
RESULTS
The age of the in-water group was 62.06 and that
of the on-land group was 61.41; the time since the
onset of stroke of the in-water group was 12.06
months and that of the on-land group was 13.89
months, and there were no significant differences
between the groups. The in-water group consisted
of 7 females (41.2%) and 10 males (58.8%), and the
on-land group consisted of 11 females (64.7%) and
6 males (35.3%). Regarding diagnosis, the in-water
group had 10 patients with infarction (58.8%) and 7
patients with hemorrhage (41.2%), and the on-land
group had 9 patients with infarction (52.9%) and 8
patients with hemorrhage (47.1%). For the affected
side: in the in-water group, 12 patients were
affected on the left side (70.6%) and 5 patients were
affected on the right side (29.4%), and in the on-
land group, 11 patients were affected on the left side
(64.7%) and 6 patients were affected on the right
side (35.3%). No differences between gender,
diagnosis, and affected sides were observed
between the groups. Therefore, the general
characteristics were homogenous at the start of the
experiment (Table 1).
In the static balance measurements, the on-land
group and the in-water group showed significant
decreases in the mediolateral velocities with EO and
EC, whereas only the in-water group demonstrated
significant decreases in anteroposterior velocities
with EO and EC (p0.05) (Table 2).
In the dynamic balance measurements, there was
a statistically significant difference between both
groups in the times and distances at 12 weeks
(p0.05). The in-water group was the only group
that demonstrated statistically significant decreases
in the times and distances taken to carry out the
tasks (p0.05) (Table 3).
DISCUSSION
Chronic stroke patients report they have
difficulties in daily life even after they are
discharged from hospital due to injuries from falls

J. Phys. Ther. Sci. Vol. 22, No. 3, 2010 334
or gait disturbances resulting from
disequilibrium18). Researchers have reported that
the diverse characteristics of water greatly help
improve the function of patients who have disorders
in balance etc. due to damage to the nervous
system
7). The position of the center of pressure
used to evaluate the balance of a stroke patient
reflects the ability to control the motions of the
trunk and the lower limbs. Increased activity of the
plantarflexor muscle tends to move the center of
pressure forward while increased activity of the
invertor muscle tends to move the center of pressurelaterally
19).
It has been reported that, in water, streamlines
and turbulent water flows create frictional
resistance, and the resistance increases in
proportion to velocity. The resistance works evenly
from all directions, enabling isokinetic muscle
contraction movements during which the pressure
of the water stimulates the proprioceptors to help
maintain balance
8). The stimulation arises through
active contact with water, whereas exercise on-land
has less manual contact. Robert
20) reported that
buoyancy and gravity interact during movements in
Table 1.Subject demographics
WG (n=17) LG (n=17)
Characteristics
N (%) Mean (SD) N (%) Mean (SD)
Age (years) NA 62.06 (13.36) NA 61.41 (8.44)
Female 7 (41.2) NA 11 (64.7) NA
Sex
Male 10 (58.8) NA 6 (35.3) NA
Infarction 10 (58.8) NA 9 (52.9) NA
Diagnosis
Hemorrhage 7 (41.2) NA 8 (47.1) NA
Left 12 (70.6) NA 11 (64.7) NA
Affected side
Right 5 (29.4) NA 6 (35.3) NA
Time since onset (months) NA 12.06 (3.33) NA 13.89(3.25)
WG, water-based training group; LG, land-based training group; SD, standard deviation; N, number;
NA, not applicable.
Table 2.Anteroposterior and mediolateral velocities of sway when the eyes were open and when the
eyes were closed at the baseline and 12 weeks
WG (n=17) LG (n=17)
Variables
baseline 12 weeks Baseline 12 weeks
Anteroposterior velocity (mms) 11.3 (4.1) 8.2 (3.4) * 12.6 (2.8) 10.1 (4.3) *
EO
Mediolateral velocity (mms) 8.5 (4.4) 5.7 (3.4) * 9.1 (3.0) 6.1 (2.5) *
Anteroposterior velocity (mms) 13.1 (2.7) 9.2 (3.3) * 13.7 (4.2) 10.4 (4.0)
EC
Mediolateral velocity (mms) 10.1 (2.6) 6.6 (2.8) * 10.6 (4.6) 7.4 (2.3) *
Values shown are means (standard deviation). *p0.05. EO, eyes open; EC, eye closed; WG, water-based
training group; LG, land-based training group.
Table 3.Changes in performance times and distances of dynamic balance test at baseline and 12 weeks
WG (n=17) LG (n=17)
Variables
baseline 12 weeks baseline 12 weeks
Time (sec) 37.3 (12.8) 23.5 (9.1) *
36.1 (12.0) 31.6 (10.6)
Distance (mm) 1567.7 (404.7) 1154.7 (249.8) *1579.0(375.1) 1440.8 (357.6)
Values shown are means (standard deviation).*p0.05: significant difference in pretest and posttest
scores for WG group. p 0.05: significant difference between WG and LG groups. WG, water-based
training group; LG, land-based training group.

335
water, and when postural sway occurs,
proprioceptive mechanoreceptors are actively
stimulated in order to limit the postural sway. In
this study, the in-water group showed significant
decreases in the velocities of anteroposterior and
mediolateral sway with EC and EO and the time and
distance taken to carry out the dynamic balance
tasks. Therefore, the task-oriented training was
more effective when it was carried out in water than
when it was carried out on land.
Chu et al.
10) reported that chronic stroke patients
aged 62 on average who performed on-land
stretching for 10 minutes, in-water warming-up for
5 minutes, aerobic activities (shallow water
walking, running, side stepping) for 30 minutes, and
light cooling down exercises for 5 minutes for 8
weeks showed significant interactions between time
and group in VO
2max, maximal workloads, and gait
speeds when compared with a control group that
had done only upper limb exercises, while no
significant difference was shown in the 14-item
Berg Balance Scale
21). Their results differ
somewhat from the results of this study, due to
differences in experiment periods and balance
measuring tools.
Berger et al.
22) measured pain, static balance, and
dynamic balance before and after on-land exercises,
before and after in-water exercises for 1 week, and
before and after in-water exercises for 4 weeks on
land and in a 34 C hot spa. Although the static
balance measured by the centre of foot pressure
(COP) did not show any significant difference after
both on-land exercises and in-water exercises, the
dynamic balance as measured by the Timed Up and
Go (TUG) test showed significantly shortened
times after balneotherapy was conducted in the spa
for 4 weeks, demonstrating that in-water exercises
effectively improved dynamic balance, which was
consistent with the results of the dynamic balance
test conducted in this study.
Thanks to buoyancy, in-water exercises make
movements limited by body weight smooth and
enable slow adjustment of exercise speeds. In
addition, composite neuromuscular mobilization in
water should improve proprioceptive inputs
23). It
was also reported that a warm bath relaxes muscles,
which would increase contact areas under the feet
eventually improving plantar tactile inputs and
balance control
24). Kaneda et al.25) reported that,
after interventions for 12 weeks with a deep water-
running exercise (DWRE) and a normal waterexercise (NWE), postural-sway distances, tandem-
walking, and simple reactions were measured, and
DWRE gave better results for postural-sway
distance, tandem-walking time, and dynamic
balance ability, indicating that depths of water
helped to improve diverse human body functions.
This study tested the effects of in-water exercises
on the static and dynamic balance of chronic stroke
patients. From the results of this study, it can be
seen that in-water exercises effectively improved on
the balance of chronic stroke patients. Particularly,
we think in-water exercise should be effective for
fall prevention for stroke patients. Future studies
will be necessary to establish the effects of in-water
exercises in relation to the time of onset of stroke
and diverse water depths and temperatures.
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