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Neuromuscular and Kinematic Adaptation in Response to Reactive Balance Training

  • Slips and stumbles are main causes of falls and result in serious injuries. Balance training is widely applied for preventing falls across the lifespan. Subdivided into two main intervention types, biomechanical characteristics differ amongst balance interventions tailored to counteract falls: conventional balance training (CBT) referring to a balance task with a static ledger pivoting around the ankle joint versus reactive balance training (RBT) using externally applied perturbations to deteriorate body equilibrium. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of reactive, slip-simulating RBT compared to CBT in regard to fall prevention and to detect neuromuscular and kinematic dependencies. In a randomized controlled trial, 38 participants were randomly allocated either to CBT or RBT. To simulate stumbling scenarios, postural responses were assessed to posterior translations in gait and stance perturbation before and after 4 weeks of training. Surface electromyography during short- (SLR), medium- (MLR), and long-latency response of shank and thigh muscles as well as ankle, knee, and hip joint kinematics (amplitudes and velocities) were recorded. Both training modalities revealed reduced angular velocity in the ankle joint (P < 0.05) accompanied by increased shank muscle activity in SLR (P < 0.05) during marching in place perturbation. During stance perturbation and marching in place perturbation, hip angular velocity was decreased after RBT (P from TTEST, Pt < 0.05) accompanied by enhanced thigh muscle activity (SLR, MLR) after both trainings (P < 0.05). Effect sizes were larger for the RBT-group during stance perturbation. Thus, both interventions revealed modified stabilization strategies for reactive balance recovery after surface translations. Characterized by enhanced reflex activity in the leg muscles antagonizing the surface translations, balance training is associated with improved neuromuscular timing and accuracy being relevant for postural control. This may result in more efficient segmental stabilization during fall risk situations, independent of the intervention modality. More pronounced modulations and higher effect sizes after RBT in stance perturbation point toward specificity of training adaptations, with an emphasis on the proximal body segment for RBT. Outcomes underline the benefits of balance training with a clear distinction between RBT and CBT being relevant for training application over the lifespan.

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Author:Anne Krause, Kathrin Freyler, Albert Gollhofer, Thomas Stocker, Uli Brüderlin, Ralf Colin, Harald Töpfer, Ramona Ritzmann
Parent Title (German):Neuromuscular Performance during Lifespan: Assessment Methods and Exercise Interventions, in: Frontiers in Psychology
Subtitle (English):A Randomized Controlled Study Regarding Fall Prevention
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication:Lausanne
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2020
Release Date:2021/01/28
Open Access?:nur im Hochschulnetz
Relevance:Peer reviewed Publikation in Master Journal Liste (Clarivate)
Licence (German):License LogoVeröffentlichungsvertrag ohne Print-on-Demand