Table of Contents
International Scholarly Research Notices
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 257248, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/257248
Review Article

Motor Activity in Aging: An Integrated Approach for Better Quality of Life

1Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council, Via Moruzzi 1, 56125 Pisa, Italy
2The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Polo Sant’Anna Valdera, Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, Pontedera, 56025 Pisa, Italy
3Department of Surgery, Medical, Molecular and Critical Area Pathology, University of Pisa, Via Paradisa 2, 56100 Pisa, Italy

Received 7 July 2014; Accepted 19 October 2014; Published 24 November 2014

Academic Editor: Maria Fiatarone Singh

Copyright © 2014 Lorenza Pratali et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Old age is normally associated with stereotypical structural and physiological changes in the brain that are caused by deterioration in elementary cognitive, sensory, and sensorimotor functions as well as increased susceptibility to stress. These changes are connected with gait impairment and falls, especially among patients with common neurological diseases. Even in the absence of history of falling or when there is no physical injury after a fall, many older people develop a fear of falling that leads to restricted mobility, reduced activity, depression, social isolation, worsened metabolic disease, and increasing risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Although links between cognitive decline and age-associated brain changes have been clarified, relationships between gait disorders and psychophysiological alterations in aging are less well understood. This review focuses on two crucial elements of aged individuals with gait disorders: characteristic comorbidities in the elderly and the psychophysiological effects of physical exercise in the elderly with gait disorder. We propose an integrated approach to studying elderly subjects with gait disorder before starting a program of motor rehabilitation with wearable robotic devices, in order to investigate the effectiveness and safety of the ambulatory training.