International Journal of Exercise Science 14(3): 76-92, 2021. Postural control is a major falls risk factor, therefore identifying protective mechanisms is essential. Physical activity enhances postural stability but effect duration has been minimally researched. The current study investigated if prolonged early life training exposure protected neuromuscular balance processes later in life. Static and dynamic balance variables were assessed in 77 healthy adults. Two age ranges (18 - 35yr, young; > 50yr, retired) were divided into weight bearing athlete and control groups; young athlete (YA), young control (YC), retired athlete (RA) and retired control (RC). Static balance was quantified using force platform derived sway velocity (mm.s-1) and C90area (mm2) data (stable and unstable surfaces, eyes open and closed) Dynamic balance was assessed using the Y balance test (YBT). Results demonstrated significant age effect across groups. However, an athletic effect was evident only assessing dynamic balance and static time to error variables. Mean time to error data (YA, 27.8 ± 5.8; YC, 20.5 ± 11.1; RA, 9.4 ± 8.5; RC, 8.6 ± 9.1 s) recorded significant age and athletic effects for the most challenging condition completed (single leg stance, eyes closed, stable surface). Mean maximum YBT composite score (YA, 90.0 ± 5.4%; YC, 83.6 ± 6.5%; RA, 80.8 ± 10.7%; RC, 72.4 ± 15.5%) demonstrated an age effect, and also identified a group effect in the retired cohorts. The current study supports research highlighting declined balance with ageing. Overall, former athleticism did not significantly enhance static balance in later life. Dynamic balance incorporates muscle strength possibly inferring a protective role in former athletes.
Lee, Caitriona; Fleming, Neil; and Donne, Bernard
"Comparison of Balance Variables Across Active and Retired Athletes and Age Matched Controls,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 14
3, Pages 76 - 92.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol14/iss3/1