Research Unit Education, Motricité, Sport et Santé, UR15JS01, High Institute of Sport and Physical Education of Sfax, University of Sfax, Route de l'Aérodrôme, Km 3.5, BP 1068, 3000, Sfax, Tunisia. [Email]
Our purpose was to compare the effects of Ramadan fasting on postural control in elderly fallers and non-fallers. The protocol involved twenty-four healthy old volunteer males divided into two groups: fallers (mean age = 75.43 ± 5.26 years, weight = 67.25 ± 5.30 kg and height = 1.65 ± 0.02 m) and non-fallers (mean age = 72.3 ± 6.42 years, weight = 65.5 ± 6.15 kg and height = 1.64 ± 0.03 m). Participants performed a simple reaction time test (SRT) and a postural control protocol on four different occasions: one week before Ramadan (BR), during the second (SWR) and the fourth week (FWR) of Ramadan and three weeks after Ramadan (AR). Center of pressure (CoP) parameters [the CoP medial-lateral length (CoPX), and the CoP antero-posterior length (CoPY)] were assessed using a force platform under two surface conditions: Firm surface and Foam surface. The results showed that Ramadan fasting influences similarly fallers and non-fallers. In fact, for both groups, the CoPX and the CoPY values increased significantly during the SWR and the FWR compared to BR. These CoP parameters decreased significantly in the Firm surface conditions in the FWR. Moreover, the CoP parameters were significantly higher during the FWR and AR in comparison with BR in the Foam surface conditions. However, the amplitude of increase of the CoP[X] % and the CoP[Y] % (ΔCoP[X] % and ΔCoP[Y] %) between BR and the SWR was significantly higher in the fallers than non-fallers. The SRT of elderly fallers and non-fallers was significantly higher in the SWR and in the FWR compared to BR. In conclusion, Ramadan fasting alters similarly postural control of elderly fallers and non-fallers, but the amplitude (ΔCoP[X] % and ΔCoP[Y] %) of this alteration seems to be more pronounced in fallers than non-fallers. A probable beginning of adaptation occurs at the FWR. However, three weeks seems to be insufficient to recover postural control alterations due to Ramadan fasting in difficult sensory conditions in elderly fallers and non-fallers.