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Galileo Research Facts No. 54: Can Galileo Training using deep squats effectively reduce fall risk and improve balance in elderly?

Galileo Research Facts No. 54: Can Galileo Training using deep squats effectively reduce fall risk and improve balance in elderly?

One of the most simple (but yet very demanding) exercises: Deep Squats on Galileo (Exercise 22, 23, 41 or 44); Shift the body weight to the heels, try not to hold on to the handle bar and try to use high frequencies > >25Hz (start with low amplitudes e.g. pos. 1 but high frequencies e.g. 25Hz+) – To make the exercise even harder: squat deeper (upper leg parallel to ground) use additional weight in the hands or a dumbbell on the shoulder, increase frequency, increase amplitude/foot position (pos. 1 to 2.5).

This combined exercise might seem quite simple but can be very demanding especially if you add weights (for untrained even one or 2 kg per hand which you hold on straight arms in front of you). This exercise trains upper legs, glutes and back extensor muscles; when shifting more weight to the heel the exercise gets more effective and you also train tibialis anterior (lifting the foot) and because the supporting area beneath the feet gets much smaller it is also a very nice balance training. The optimal setting for this Galileo exercise (knee angle, additional weights, frequency, foot position) is to exhaust the muscles in less than 60 seconds. – Deep Squats on the Galileo: So simple but so much to gain!

This study shows that deep squats on the Galileo is a great exercise to decrease fall risk, because it addresses many of the neuro-muscular aspects which are typically compromised by aging: Muscles of the upper leg and the Glutes (both essential for getting up from a chair or climbing stairs), Tibialis Anterior (lifting muscle of the foot to get the foot up from the floor to prevent tipping over), Muscle Power of the legs (faster walking with larger steps, faster stair climbing) and last but not least: balance. Many Galileo studies show that even static standing with slightly bent knees show significant effects in deconditioned (#GRFS49, #GRFS42, #GRFS41, #GRF32) and it can even increase bone mass (#GRFS46) – but even more effective is the deep squat on the Galileo (group 2 in this study) because it exhausts the body much faster (#GRFS4) and therefore makes the Galileo Training in a shorter time much more effective. This study shows nicely that using an identical set-up increasing the knee angel from 45° to moderate 60° already significantly increases the training effects in 68- to 79-year-old participants even though only 20Hz were used.

The training would have been even more effective with high frequencies (26-30Hz) because between 20Hz and 30Hz Galileo Training can double the muscle activation (#GRFS3). Therefore, with Galileo rather start with a low amplitude (foot position 1) than starting at a low frequency – this also increases the balance training effects because the foot support area decreases – and especially for sideways movement which is the highest risk for falling. Deep squatting on the Galileo (Exercise 22, 23, 41 or 44) is one of the best and most effective Galileo exercises to minimize fall risk and to train the muscles of the legs at the same time.

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