C. Nickless, T. Simon, J. Cuddy, & M. Bundle.

University of Montana, Missoula, MT

PURPOSE: To determine if the center of balance was affected by different exercise intensities. A secondary aim was to determine how long it took for balance to return to normal if balance was affected. METHODS: 16 male participants (25 ± 5 yrs., 183 ± 10cm, 73 ± 11kg, 4.4 ± .73 L/min) completed the study. Participants had not sustained a concussion in the past two years. On the first visit maximal oxygen consumption was obtained using a cycle ergometer to volitional exhaustion. Additionally, following the max test, stability score was determined on a force plate. On the second lab visit, subjects exercised for five minutes on the bike at watts corresponding to 40%, 60%, 80%, and 120% of their maximum power output. After each stage, four different stability scores were tested every five minutes, for 30 minutes: normal stability eyes open (NSEO), normal stability eyes closed (NSEC), perturbed stability eyes open (PESO), and perturbed stability eyes closed (PSEC). RESULTS: Using a two-way anova, our results indicated that for NSEO, at 120%, there was a decrease in stability from baseline with significance of p< 0.05. Stability returned to baseline after ten minutes. Stability scores from 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 minutes post exercise included: 0.87, 0.90, 0.91, 0.92, 0.94, 0.93, 0.92. These compared to a baseline of 0.93. Our findings also presented a trend for NSEO at 80%. Showing an insignificant difference, p=0.097, between baseline and the stability score immediately post exercise. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings showed that immediately after exercising at 120% VO2max there was a decrease in stability score compared to baseline. After ten minutes, stability score returned to baseline with NSEO. Following intense exercise, balance will be impaired; but ten minutes after the cessation balance should return to baseline. If the subject falls below baseline, this indicates continued balance impairment.

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