Balance is important in all activities for safe and efficient movement. It is essential for athletic performance and activities of daily living because it affects coordination, control, stability, and posture. PURPOSE: To determine the effect of acute lower body fatigue on balance in young adults. METHODS: Twenty young participants (age: 22.9 ± 3.9 yrs; weight: 73.2 ± 14.9 kg; height: 167 ± 8.7 cm) volunteered for a pretest-posttest designed experiment. The participants completed two balance tests (one on a non-compliant flat surface and one on a compliant 2-inch foam surface) before and after two Wingate Anaerobic tests (WaNt) with 1-minute rest between bouts. To assess the effect of fatigue on balance a triaxial accelerometer was placed at the L3 vertebrae. Accelerometer data were downloaded using 1-second epochs and low frequency extension. These acceleration counts measured in the mediolateral (ML), anterior-posterior (AP), and vertical (VT) planes were used to provide activity counts to be quantified as a composite vector magnitude of these three axes. A two-tailed paired t-test was used to examine differences in vector magnitude between the pre and post fatiguing protocol. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. RESULTS: The average power loss between the first and the second WaNt test was 74.8 ± 14.3%. The average vector magnitude before and after the fatiguing protocol for the non-compliant surface was 15.3 ± 19.4 and 57.5 ± 38.3, respectively. There was a significant (p < 0.01) difference in average vector magnitude between pre and post fatigue on a non-compliant surface. On the compliant surface, the average vector magnitude before the WaNt was 46.3 ± 46.3 and after the WaNt was 96.7 ± 56.7. Furthermore, there was a significant (p < 0.01) difference between the control and fatigue when assessed on a compliant surface. While most of the movement was seen in the ML axis, there were no significant differences between axes before and after the fatiguing protocol for either surface. CONCLUSION: These results showed that acute lower body muscular fatigue alters balance in young adults. Moreover, the results indicate that accelerometers can be used in measuring balance after a fatiguing protocol. Future research should assess the impact of fatigue on balance and the effectiveness of triaxial accelerometers to measure balance for other populations such as older adults.

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