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Balance Board Test

The Balance Board test is a comprehensive assessment of agility, balance, and equilibrium. Designed to measure whole-body balance, this test is particularly important for the elderly population as it helps identify potential risks of falls and injuries.

Purpose

The purpose of the Balance Board test is to evaluate an individual’s ability to maintain balance on a platform for a period of 30 seconds. This test provides valuable insights into one’s overall fitness capacity, especially in terms of balance and stability.

Equipment Required

To perform the Balance Board test, you will need a wooden balance platform measuring 50 x 50 x 1.5 cm. The platform features a small 2 cm wide beam running down the middle beneath it to add difficulty. Additionally, small stoppers are placed on the corners to ensure the board cannot tilt more than 18°. The platform is equipped with contacts connected to a timer, placed exactly in the middle of the left and right halves.

Pre-Test Procedures

Before conducting the Balance Board test, it is crucial to explain the test procedures to the participant and perform a screening of any potential health risks. Informed consent should be obtained, and basic information such as age, height, body weight, and gender should be recorded. An appropriate warm-up should also be performed to prepare the participant for the test.

Test Procedure

During the Balance Board test, the participant is instructed to stand on the platform with their toes pointed outward at a 15° angle and their heels 15 cm apart. The goal is to keep the platform balanced for a period of 30 seconds. The timer stops when the contacts touch the floor. After one practice trial, the best score out of three trials is recorded.

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Scoring

The score for the Balance Board test is determined by the total time that neither contact touches the floor. Each count represents 0.3 seconds, with 100 counts equaling 30 seconds. Thus, a higher score indicates better balance and performance, with a maximum score of 100.

Target Population

While the Balance Board test can be performed by individuals of various age groups, it was specifically designed for the elderly population. It provides valuable insights into their balance and stability, which are particularly crucial for maintaining their overall well-being.

Advantages and Disadvantages

One advantage of the Balance Board test is its ability to specifically assess whole-body balance. However, a potential disadvantage is the requirement for specialized equipment, including a wooden balance platform with the necessary configuration.

Reference

Koen A.P.Lemmink, Han Kemper, Mathieu H.G. de Greef, and Piet Rispens P, Stevens M, Reliability of the Groningen Fitness Test for the Elderly, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 2001, 9, 194-212

The Test in Action

The Balance Board test is part of the protocol for the Groningen Fitness Test for the Elderly.

Similar Tests

  • Stork Balance Test: This test involves standing on the toes of one leg for as long as possible while the free leg rests on the inside of the opposite knee.
  • One Leg Stand: A test commonly used for sobriety checks, requiring individuals to stand with one foot off the ground for 30 seconds.
  • Standing Balance Test: This test involves standing on one leg for as long as possible, assessing balance and stability.
  • Stick Lengthwise Test: Participants must balance on a stick, standing side-on on the balls of both feet, for as long as possible.
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Related Pages

  • More about the Groningen Fitness Test for the Elderly
  • A discussion about Fitness Testing for the Elderly
  • Other Balance Tests
  • Balance Testing