Esther Steingold, Lacy Harper, Melanie Antonio, William Reed, Valentina Taddia, Breanna McDonald, Micah Poisal, Kaden Buford, Garrett Hester. Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA.

BACKGROUND: Research examining balance after fatigue tends to employ strenuous or sustained exercise. Albeit informative, we felt it important to examine responses to activity more closely resembling acts of daily living. In addition, it is critical yet less prevalent to assess dynamic balance as it better represents challenges to postural stability encountered in daily life. The purpose of our ongoing study is to determine the differences, if any, for responses in dynamic balance after brisk walking in young and middle-aged females. Here, we report on preliminary findings based on participants completed to date. METHODS: Four untrained, females (31.5 ± 17.7 yrs) completed a testing visit 3-7 days following a familiarization session. Dynamic balance testing was conducted using a Biodex Balance System before and 2, 6, and 10-min after a 6-min brisk walking task. Balance testing was 30-sec in duration and involved a progressively unstable platform. Postural stability index, indicative of changes in center of gravity, and the standard deviation for this measurement were calculated for multiple planes of movement. The instructions of the walking task were to “cover as much distance as possible”. Friedman’s test and relative changes were computed to examine responses across time. RESULTS: No significant changes were noted for any measures (p=0.091 - 0.380), though the 65% increase in anterior/posterior postural stability index (i.e., more postural sway) was notable. CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary findings suggest that dynamic balance is not negatively affected after a brisk 6-min walk, but interpretation is limited due to our small sample size which resulted in underpowered analyses. Nonetheless, as our sample size increases and age-related comparisons are feasible, it will be of particular interest to determine if these preliminary findings remain consistent in females 45-60 yrs of age.

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