The short-term effects of a sports stacking intervention on the cognitive and perceptual motor functioning in geriatrics.
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Introduction: Sport stacking has been shown to improve cognitive and motor functioning, such as reaction time and hand eye coordination, through studies conducted on children in grades two and three but limited research exists to suggest these improvements in other populations. Due to the decline in cognitive and motor functioning resulting from aging and the correlation of falls occurred with decreased cognitive functioning, improvements in these aspects may promote an improvement in brain functioning and quality of life in geriatrics. Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of sport stacking on geriatric motor and cognitive functioning. Methods: This quasi-experimental design with a pre- and post-intervention selected a purposive sample of 60 geriatric participants in a retirement home located in the eThekwini region, KwaZulu-Natal. Participants were between 60-90 years old; had no physical disabilities; had no sports stacking experience; had no medical conditions including Alzheimer’s or Parkinson's disease or medication for Vertigo, hand eye coordination or memory, had no orthopedic complications, and were sedentary. All participants’ Body Mass Index were measured using the Nagata BW- 1222 W. Performance on Hand eye coordination was tested by using the plate tapping test, Reaction Time was tested by using the Position Speed Test, Memory was tested by using the SOMCT questionnaire, and Balance was tested by using the Sharpened Romberg Test. The quality of life assessment was measured by using the Lawton’s Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire. Thirty participants were exposed to an eight week intervention twice a week for 60 minutes while the control group (n=30) continued with activities as per norm. Pre- and post-intervention results were analysed using the statistical programme SPSS Version 19. Means and Standard Deviations, and paired t-test statistics were used to test significant differences pre- and post- intervention. Results: The intervention group showed improvements in their reaction time (x̅ - 4.464)(σ 3.986) and plate tapping (x̅ 2.629)(σ 2.468) times. However, the control group also had an increase in reaction time (x̅ -1.933)(σ 4.849) and plate tapping (x̅ 1.538)(σ 3.255) times. The improvements found in the control group were not as significant as what was found in the intervention group. Overall, there were no changes in the balance results pre- and post-intervention. There were no significant results found in their memory, quality of life and hand eye coordination tests. However, the intervention groups’ sports stacking times improved over the eight week intervention and this could possibly be due to an improvement in skill level. Conclusion: It was apparent that the sports stacking intervention proved to be beneficial in improving motor functioning in geriatrics.