The Effects of Physical Activity in the Anticipatory Postural Adjustments in Elderly People

in Motor Control
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Exercise seems to attenuate the postural control system and anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) decline, but no conclusive findings are available. This study analyses, in elderly people, the exercise effect in APAs during the raising of a load with both arms in the sagittal plane. Twenty eight males over the age of 60 (65,8 ± 4,07 yr old)—9 veterans in exercising, 9 who exercise recently, and 10 sedentary—were asked to raise a load with both arms simultaneously to shoulder level, in standing position, as fast as possible. It was studied the electromyography (EMG) pattern of the main muscles. The APAs were quantified through the time integral of EMG records (iEMG). Anticipatory changes in the postural muscles were seen in all groups. We observed, in the tibialis anterior activity, a higher significant activation in the sedentary compared with the other groups, suggesting that exercise can modulate the postural control system.

Carvalho is with the Superior Health School of Vale do Sousa, Department of Physical Therapy, CITS-IPSN-CESPU, Paredes, Portugal. Vasconcelos, Gonçalves, Conceiçâo, and Vilas-Boas are with the Faculty of Sport, CIFI2D, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.