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Evaluation of Changes in the Parameters of Body Stability in the Participants of a Nine-Day Snowboarding Course

Authors:
  • Jozef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw

Abstract and Figures

Introduction. Snowboarding is a sports discipline in which postural control is key to achieving an effective technique. The body is positioned sideways on the snowboard, with only the head facing forward. This study evaluated the effect of several days of intense snowboarding on the parameters of static and dynamic body stability in persons with different levels of skill. Material and methods. A nine-day snowboarding course was designed and conducted with beginner (N = 16) and advanced snowboarders (N = 14) in the mountains in winter. Before and after the course, dynamic body stability was measured on a Biodex Balance System (USA) platform with an unstable surface, and static body stability was measured on a FreeMed Sensor Medica (Italy) stabilometric platform. Results. Measurements on an unstable surface showed significantly weaker (p < 0.01) values of body stability in a lateral stance in the snowboarding stance than in a forward stance and a significant (p < 0.05) improvement in performance after the course. On a stable surface, the improvement in performance (p < 0.05) occurred only among the beginners, in the snowboard basic position. Conclusions. The results confirm that snowboarding, or continuous unstable balance, improves postural control, which leads to the conclusion that the lateral stance on the snowboard is a clearly disruptive factor in natural postural control. This constitutes a considerable difficulty, especially for beginners, who in addition to learning new technical skills, must adapt to continuously shifting balance.
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Copyright © 2017 by the Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport in Biała Podlaska
Pol. J. Sport Tourism 2017, 24, 97-101
DOI: 10.1515/pjst-2017-0010 97
EVALUATION OF CHANGES IN THE PARAMETERS OF
BODY STABILITY IN THE PARTICIPANTS OF A NINE-DAY
SNOWBOARDING COURSE
MICHAŁ STANISZEWSKI1, PRZEMYSŁAW ZYBKO1, IDA WISZOMIRSKA2
Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Faculty of Physical Education,
Department of Water and Winter Sports1, Faculty of Rehabilitation, Department of Anatomy and Kinesiology2
Mailing address: Michał Staniszewski, Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education, Department of Water
and Winter Sports, 34 Marymoncka Street, 00-968 Warsaw, tel.: +48 22 8340431 ext. 227, fax: +48 22 8651080,
e-mail: michal.staniszewski@awf.edu.pl
Abstract
Introduction. Snowboarding is a sports discipline in which postural control is key to achieving an eective technique. The body
is positioned sideways on the snowboard, with only the head facing forward. This study evaluated the eect of several days of
intense snowboarding on the parameters of static and dynamic body stability in persons with dierent levels of skill. Material
and methods. A nine-day snowboarding course was designed and conducted with beginner (N = 16) and advanced snowboard-
ers (N = 14) in the mountains in winter. Before and after the course, dynamic body stability was measured on a Biodex Balance
System (USA) platform with an unstable surface, and static body stability was measured on a FreeMed Sensor Medica (Italy)
stabilometric platform. Results. Measurements on an unstable surface showed signicantly weaker (p < 0.01) values of body
stability in a lateral stance in the snowboarding stance than in a forward stance and a signicant (p < 0.05) improvement in
performance after the course. On a stable surface, the improvement in performance (p < 0.05) occurred only among the begin-
ners, in the snowboard basic position. Conclusions. The results conrm that snowboarding, or continuous unstable balance,
improves postural control, which leads to the conclusion that the lateral stance on the snowboard is a clearly disruptive factor
in natural postural control. This constitutes a considerable diculty, especially for beginners, who in addition to learning new
technical skills, must adapt to continuously shifting balance.
Key words: body posture control, balance, biofeedback, postural stability, stable surface, unstable surface
Introduction
Control over vertical posture requires information collected
from the surroundings by the receptors of sight, touch, pres-
sure, and the vestibule of the ear, and by proprioceptive recep-
tors as well. The information is sent to the central nervous sys-
tem, where it is processed. Subsequently, nerve signals travel
to the eyes and the muscles of the trunk and limbs, initiating
reexes that coordinate body posture [1, 2]. De Oliveira et al.
[3] interpret balance control as the combined eect of the cen-
tral nervous system, senses (touch, sight, and balance), biome-
chanical limitations, cognitive processes, perception of vertical-
ity, and movement strategy. Research conducted by Meyer et al.
[4] indicates that plantar feedback becomes one of the primary
moderators of the correct body posture whenever the receptors
of sight are inactive. Plantar feedback allows for a continuous
adjustment of the position of the body in relation to the sur-
roundings [5]. Other important factors in balance control are
the elasticity of the soft tissues and the mechanics of the foot.
A correct stable posture is required for locomotion and most
voluntary movements.
Both static and dynamic postural stability can be tested
[6-8]. However, as there are no practical means to assess COM
displacements, postural stability tests use indirect indicators.
Static balance tests are conducted on measurement devices
with a stable, rigid surface, with COM displacements given by
the oscillations of the centre of pressure (COP) of the feet. Sub-
ject literature assumes that COP oscillations correspond to the
degree of balance. The most frequently analysed parameter is
the length of the path designated by the movement of the COP
of the feet [9-12]. Dynamic balance tests use measurement de-
vices with an unstable surface. Balance is maintained through
controlled adjustments to the position of the body and the as-
sessment is based on the overall stability index (OSI) [13-16].
One of the activities in which postural control plays a key
role is snowboarding. Getting on a snowboard involves fasten-
ing both boots into the bindings, which immobilises the feet
and excludes the lower limbs from the process of maintaining
balance. The body is positioned sideways on the snowboard,
with only the head facing forward and the eyes looking for-
ward. The direction of the stance depends on the choice of the
lead leg, or the leg that is in front during the ride. This stance is
called the basic position. Some snowboarders prefer to ride with
their right leg in front, that is with the right side of the body
facing the slope and their head turned right, while others prefer
to ride with their left leg in front. The choice is individual for
each snowboarder. The opposite position, that is with the non-
lead leg in front, is also possible. This is called the fakie posi-
tion. However, this stance makes free riding dicult and should
only be used by advanced snowboarders. The lateral position
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required for snowboarding is not natural for human locomo-
tion. As a result of this positioning, the ride takes place within
the human temporal plane, rather than, as with most natural
and sports-related movements, within the sagittal plane [17, 18].
The immobilised feet make it dicult to maintain a verti-
cal posture on the slope, and turning requires specic technical
skills. In order to turn, a snowboarder presses down on one of
the edges of the snowboard by shifting his or her body either
toward the toes or toward the heels, that is in the sagittal plane.
The lateral position means that snowboarders remain constant-
ly in unstable balance, and turning involves a controlled loss of
balance in the intended direction [19].
Many hours of snowboarding and training exercises improve
control over the human-snowboard-snow system. It seems that,
as training continues, body balance also improves, as indicated
by the fact that snowboarders fall less often, are more secure on
their boards, and are able to ride more eectively on increas-
ingly demanding terrain. However, it is unknown whether the
improved postural control during snowboarding is related to
mechanisms involved with the improvement of body stability or
with the improvement in general motor coordination involved
in acquiring new technical skills. The subject literature provides
no answer to this issue, and studies that analyse balance in win-
ter sports are rare. This study aimed to investigate whether sev-
eral days of intense snowboarding generates changes in static
and dynamic body stability and whether snowboarding skills
contribute to these changes. To this end, a nine-day snowboard-
ing course was designed and conducted with beginner and ad-
vanced snowboarders in the mountains in winter.
Material and methods
All participants were informed about the research proce-
dure, conditions of participation, dangers, and obligations. All
participants gave written consent for participation in person,
and they were informed that they would be able to opt out of
the experiment at any point and with no consequences. The
study was approved by the local Ethics Committee for Scientic
Research.
Participants
Study participants comprised 30 university students of
physical education who took part in a snowboarding course. The
participants were non-randomly assigned to two groups accord-
ing to their level of skill (Tab. 1). The group of beginner snow-
boarders (BEG) comprised 16 persons who declared that they
had no snowboarding skills prior to the course. The group of ad-
vanced snowboarders (ADV) comprised 14 persons with several
years of snowboarding experience, who, at the time, were par-
ticipating in a snowboarding instructor course. All participants
took part in a nine-day snowboarding camp. The beginner group
learned to ride the snowboard using basic techniques, with the
lead leg positioned always in front. The advanced group learnt
advanced manoeuvres in both the basic position and the fakie
position. The two groups showed no signicant dierences in
mean body mass or height. However, the advanced snowboard-
ers were older than the beginners by an average of two years.
Procedures
In order to assess the eect of the course on postural con-
trol, static body stability and dynamic stability were measured
before and after the course.
Dynamic body stability was measured on a Biodex Balance
System SD (USA) device with an unstable surface. Three proto-
cols were performed at Stability Level 8. Each protocol consisted
of four 20-second trials with a 10-second break in-between. The
participants underwent a postural stability test (PST) in a two-
leg forward stance with biofeedback with eyes open and closed,
and in a lateral stance with the head facing the biofeedback
screen, that is in positions that imitated both the basic position
and the fakie position in snowboarding. For analysis of stability,
the overall stability index (OSI) was used.
Static body balance was measured on a Sensor Medica
FreeMed (Italy) stabilometric mat. Four 30-second protocols
in a barefoot stance were performed: a two-leg stance with eyes
open, a two-leg stance with eyes closed, a two-leg stance with
eyes open and the head turned in the basic position, and a two-
leg stance with the head turned in the fakie position. Analysis
and comparisons were based on the path lengths of the COP of
the feet.
Statistical analysis
The data obtained were subjected to statistical analysis us-
ing the Statistica Ver. 12 software package. Normality of distri-
bution was assessed using the Shapiro-Wilk w test. Changes
in the parameters of stability were assessed using the repeated
measures ANOVA. The probability level of p < 0.05 was as-
sumed as statistically signicant.
Results
During the test performed on an unstable surface with bi-
ofeedback, both groups showed the best stability in a forward
stance with eyes open (Fig. 1 and 2). As expected, standing with
eyes closed proved to be the most dicult test, yielding a more
than three-fold decrease in the ability to maintain a stable pos-
ture. Interestingly, the lateral alignment of the body with only
the head facing the screen signicantly (p < 0.01) worsened pos-
tural control in both the basic and the fakie position and in both
groups. On the other hand, neither group showed dierences
between the two directions in a lateral stance. Measurements
conducted on the Body Balance System also revealed no statisti-
cally signicant dierences in the parameters of body stability
between the two groups.
In the beginner group (Fig. 1), the snowboarding course im-
proved postural control in a forward stance with eyes open (p <
0.05) and in a lateral stance with the head turned in the direc-
tion of the basic position (p < 0.05). In the advanced group (Fig.
2), a signicant improvement was observed in a two-leg stance
with eyes open (p < 0.01) and in a lateral stance in the basic posi-
tion (p < 0.01) and the fakie position (p < 0.05).
Measurements of postural stability conducted on a stable
surface revealed signicant dierences in the path length of the
COP in the beginner group (Fig. 3) between standing with eyes
open and standing with eyes closed (p < 0.01) as well as between
the former and the snowboard basic position (p < 0.05). In the
advanced group (Fig. 4), signicant dierences (p < 0.05) oc-
curred only between standing with eyes open and eyes closed.
Table 1. Characteristics of the groups examined in the study
Group N Age
(years)*
Body mass
(kg)
Height
(cm)
BEG 16 (7 men, 9 women) 21.4 ± 1.3 68.1 ± 13.5 173.3 ± 10.6
ADV 14 (9 men, 5 women) 23.2 ± 1.8 71.5 ± 11.1 175.4 ± 9.3
*statistically signicant dierences between groups (p = 0.004).
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After the training camp, the beginner group showed changes in
the path length of the COP only in a lateral stance in the basic
position (p < 0.05). In the advanced group there were no sig-
nicant dierences in postural stability measurements before
and after the camp. No statistically signicant dierences were
observed between the two groups, either.
Discussion
An assessment of static and dynamic body stability showed
no statistically signicant dierences between the beginner
snowboarders and the advanced snowboarders. Similar ndings
were reported in studies conducted by other authors, who indi-
cate that the level of skill does not always dierentiate athletes
on the basis of body balance. In many sports disciplines, such as
shooting, soccer, or golf, the length of training experience has
a positive eect on body balance. However, there are disciplines
in which the level of technical skill does not dierentiate ath-
letes in terms of body stability. These disciplines include surf-
ing, judo, alpine skiing, and, indeed, snowboarding [20, 21].
An interesting nding is that both beginner and advanced
snowboarders performed worse in terms of stability in a lateral
*statistically signicant dierences at the level of p < 0.05; **statistically signicant
dierences at the level of p < 0.01; ***statistically signicant dierences at the level of
p < 0.001.
Figure 1. Overall stability index, OSI (mean values ± SD), measured
when standing on an unstable surface with biofeedback in the beginner
group pre and post training camp
*statistically signicant dierences at the level of p < 0.05; **statistically signicant
dierences at the level of p < 0.01.
Figure 3. Path length of the COP of the feet (mean values ± SD)
measured while standing on a stable surface in the beginner group pre
and post training camp
*statistically signicant dierences at the level of p < 0.05; **statistically signicant
dierences at the level of p < 0.01; ***statistically signicant dierences at the level of
p < 0.001.
Figure 2. Overall stability index, OSI (mean values ± SD), measured
when standing on an unstable surface with biofeedback in the advanced
group pre and post training camp
*statistically signicant dierences at the level of p < 0.05.
Figure 4. Path length of the COP of the feet (mean values ± SD)
measured while standing on a stable surface in the advanced group pre
and post training camp
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stance than in a forward stance. The only dierence between
the two stances is the turning of the head, which in the lateral
stance faces a screen with biofeedback. Nonetheless, it is the
turning of the head that causes a conict between information
about the vertical posture that originates in the head and ar-
rives through the vestibular and sight systems and information
that comes from the set of proprioceptors located in postural
muscles. During a forward stance, all three of these mechanisms
regulate balance within the same planes: A/P displacements are
regulated within the sagittal plane, and M/L displacements are
regulated within the temporal plane. On the other hand, in the
snowboarding stance in which the head is turned by 90 degrees
toward the slope, displacements of the body toward the toes or
the heels constitute displacements in the sagittal plane. How-
ever, from the perspective of the vestibular and sight systems,
which regulate the orientation of the head relative to the sur-
roundings, these displacements constitute displacements in the
temporal plane. Such a conict occurring when a snowboarder
assumes the snowboarding stance and moves sideways, rather
than forward, makes learning and riding dicult not only in
snowboarding, but in other sports that require riding or surng
sideways on a board. Anthony et al. [22] pointed out a similar
phenomenon in their study, in which they assessed surfers us-
ing a Biodex Balance System device with an unstable surface.
As with this study, the balance tests were conducted in a lateral
position relative to simulating the surng stance, with only the
head turned toward the screen with biofeedback. They demon-
strated that the lateral position causes signicant dierences in
body stability between the surfers depending on which leg they
choose as their lead leg when standing on a suroard.
In tests conducted on a stable surface, that is under condi-
tions that dier to a greater extent from those experienced dur-
ing snowboarding, dierences between a forward stance and
a lateral stance occurred only in the beginner group. This may
indicate that the lack of such dierences in the advanced group
resulted from their considerable technical skill and the related
adaptation to controlling their balance during snowboarding.
Čech [23], who studied balance in ice hockey players, reached
a similar conclusion. He conducted an experiment in which he
observed no dierences in postural stability, as measured on
a stable surface, between a group of players who underwent
special balance training and a group who underwent tradition-
al training. Long-term hockey training was found to allow the
players to adapt to dicult conditions of postural control dur-
ing ice skating, and additional balancing exercises had no eect
on the players’ postural stability in static conditions. In contrast,
when additional balancing exercises were applied throughout
12 weeks of training in eld hockey, a discipline in which the
surface stimulates body posture less strongly than in ice skat-
ing, they improved the players’ static as well as dynamic body
stability [24].
The results of the tests conducted before and after the nine-
week snowboarding course indicate that improvement in the
snowboarding technique strictly correlates with improvement
in postural control. Of course, this is not the only factor that
aects performance in snowboarding. Nonetheless, the statis-
tically signicant dierences in the parameters of body stabil-
ity before and after the course suggest that body balance plays
a major role in snowboarding. To put it dierently, snowboard-
ing, or constant exposure to unstable balance, has a signicant,
positive eect on body stability.
Tests conducted in a standing position on a platform with
an unstable surface showed signicant changes in both the
beginner and the advanced groups. The beginners improved
their stability in a forward stance with eyes open and in a lateral
stance in the basic position. In other words, in addition to gen-
eral body balance, the improvement also concerned the lateral
position, which the participants assumed when snowboarding.
The advanced snowboarders additionally showed an improve-
ment in the fakie stance, that is in the position with the opposite
leg in front, as riding in this manner is a usual part of advanced
training.
During the nine-day snowboarding course, the partici-
pants, especially the beginners, performed dicult exercises
that involved maintaining a stable position on the snowboard.
These were balancing exercises that helped to improve the par-
ticipants’ postural control. Studies conducted by other authors
conrm that even a short-term period of balancing exercises
may benet body stability. Karakaya et al. [25] observed signi-
cant changes in postural stability following two weeks of prop-
rioceptive training with persons not engaged in sports. Vando
et al. [26] applied one week of coordination training in 10-year-
old karate ghters, noting signicant changes in body stability,
as measured on a stable platform. In turn, Matin et al. [27] re-
ported an improvement in both static and dynamic stability in
children aged 10-12 years following four weeks of sensorimotor
training.
Conclusions
The research conducted indicates that the lateral snow-
boarding stance relative to the direction of riding is a clearly
disruptive factor to natural postural control mechanisms. This
constitutes a considerable diculty, especially for beginners,
who in addition to learning new technical skills, must adapt to
a continuously shifting balance. Furthermore, remaining in un-
stable balance can be considered a benet to postural control. It
is worth noting that, along with an improvement in general sta-
bility, improvement was also observed in areas that were trained
during the nine-day snowboarding course, that is in the basic
position for the beginners and the basic and reverse (fakie) posi-
tions for the advanced snowboarders.
Furthermore, it was found that analysis of changes in the
parameters of body stability in advanced snowboarders should
involve measurements on an unstable surface, as they reect
natural snowboarding activity better. As Williams et al. [28]
state, because tests performed in static conditions are a subop-
timal choice for advanced athletes who have already achieved
good balancing skills in their sports careers, tests should be
performed on an unstable surface instead. Zemková [29] notes
that static balance is signicant in sports such as shooting or
archery. In contrast, in sports that involve moving on a board,
such as snowboarding, skateboarding, or windsurng, dynamic
postural control is a key part of the movement technique and
should be tested in dynamic conditions. Williams et al. [30]
claim that compared to athletes who train on a stable surface,
athletes who train on an unstable surface use a more eective
strategy of maintaining stable posture in response to disrup-
tions in balance.
Acknowledgements
This study was nanced by the Polish Ministry of Science
and Higher Education under research project DS. 199 of Józef
Piłsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw.
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Submitted: March 6, 2017
Accepted: April 26, 2017
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... The studies examined whether a multi-day program would affect general balance performance (Wojtyczek et al., 2014) or postural stability (Staniszewski et al., 2016). Amongst snowboarders, one study examined the change in static and dynamic body stability of beginner and advanced participants after engaging in a nine-day snowboard instruction program (Staniszewski et al., 2017). In another study, snowboarding participants had their balance prior to participation in a multi-day program compared against their balance following participation, as well as against a control group of snowboarders outside of the instructional program (Kłos et al., 2019). ...
... Thus, Kłos et al. (2019) concluded that practicing snowboarding in a program did not lead to an additional improvement in balance. Yet, Staniszewski et al. (2017) found that partici-pation in a nine-day program led to improved general stability for both beginner and advanced snowboard participants. Advanced snowboard participants even demonstrated greater balance post-program in fakie stance, having their opposite leg as the dominant leg. ...
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Snowsports education is crucial to the sustainability of the snowsports industry as it connects the participants to the sport through formal instruction. Investing in the development of snowsports education professionals that have the skills and knowledge can contribute to creating lifelong participants. The purpose of this study is to understand what is known about snowsports education in an effort to guide future research towards a more thorough theoretical, practical, and interdisciplinary understanding. Through a scoping review, this paper summarizes the current body of knowledge and identifies gaps in extant literature. Primary findings suggest snowsports education programs and instructors have significant impacts on a participant’s attitude toward snowsports and toward their skill acquisition. A notable gap is that while researchers have suggested instructor-participant interactions are valuable to the snowsports education experience, few studies have explicitly explored such interaction. Guided by the current knowledge and existing gaps, potential research opportunities are discussed.
... The length of the COP path may be related to COP velocity as the path and velocity of the COP displacements carry the same information. Such conclusions can be reached when analysing the results of a postural control study conducted on snowboarders [19]. The authors of that study compared the COP path length in samples of the same duration. ...
... The authors of that study compared the COP path length in samples of the same duration. The results for the balance tasks with eyes open and closed showed that the COP path was significantly longer in the more difficult task of controlling postural balance without visual stimuli both in the group of novice and more advanced athletes; a longer COP path for the same duration of the test indicated higher COP displacement velocity was higher in the closed-eyes test [19]. This means that difficulty in postural control, and thus its deterioration, manifests itself in increased length of the COP path and increased velocity of COP displacement. ...
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Introduction. The aim of the study was to determine the differences in the quality of postural control between two female rhythmic gymnasts with different training experience during the performance of balance exercises. In rhythmic gymnastics, the same balance exercises are performed by novice and elite gymnasts. Balance exercises involving standing on the toes of one leg with the free leg raised in different positions are considered to be extreme forms of exercise in terms of the postural balance abilities required. In coaching practice, it is important to have tools which facilitate the objective assessment of the process of maintaining balance in such exercises. Material and methods. The study involved two female rhythmic gymnasts: a younger one (age = 8 years and training experience = 4 years) and an older one (age = 21 years and training experience = 14 years). The athletes performed three balance exercises standing on a Kistler platform: the split with hand support (lateral balance), the ring with hand support, and the back split without hand support (balance on the whole foot). The parameters describing the quality of postural control used in the current analysis were the range and velocity of COP displacements in the anterior-posterior and medial-lateral directions. Results . Postural control in the balance exercises in the younger rhythmic gymnast was characterised by almost two times greater COP displacements in the anterior-posterior direction and more rapid than that of the older gymnast. COP displacements in the medial-lateral direction in all the exercises described did not differentiate the subjects. In the back split without hand support, the older athlete showed greater variability of postural control with smaller COP displacement and velocity than the younger gymnast. Conclusion. Gymnastics training should include exercises strengthening the muscles acting on the ankle and hip joints, which could improve the stability of these joints during the performance of difficult balance exercises. Improving the stabilising function of these muscles helps to minimise anterior-posterior movements in these joints.
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Snowboarding requires a lateral positioning of the body. Moreover, a person must continuously control their balance and use this in order to manoeuvre on the slope applying properly pressure on the lower limb closest to the nose of the board (the leading leg). The present study is an attempt to determine the interdependencies between side preference while snowboarding and laterality when performing other tasks. The dynamic stability in the neutral standing position, as well as in the lateral positions (left or right) was also evaluated. The survey participants (100 active snowboarders) answered a set of questions concerning laterality while carrying out basic everyday tasks and while doing sports. The respondents were divided into two groups based on their preferred leading side in snowboarding. Additionally, in the case of 34 people, muscle torques values of the lower limbs were measured under static conditions and the postural stability was evaluated using AccuSway AMTI platform and Biodex Balance System platform. Over 90% of the participants declared right-handedness and right-footedness. However, with regard to snowboarding, only 66% indicated their right leg as leading. No significant dependence was found between the directional stance on the board and the leading hand, dominant leg, or leading eye. The stability measurements revealed statistically significant differences between the neutral stance and the lateral positioning. Based on the study results, it may be assumed that the declared directional stance on the snowboard is not contingent on the person’s basic laterality, and that the lateral stance on the board significantly affects the posture control.
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Background Many methods have been proposed to assess the stability of human postural balance by using a force plate. While most of these approaches characterize postural stability by extracting features from the trajectory of the center of pressure (COP), this work develops stability measures derived from components of the ground reaction force (GRF). Methods In comparison with previous GRF-based approaches that extract stability features from the GRF resultant force, this study proposes three feature sets derived from the correlation patterns among the vertical GRF (VGRF) components. The first and second feature sets quantitatively assess the strength and changing speed of the correlation patterns, respectively. The third feature set is used to quantify the stabilizing effect of the GRF coordination patterns on the COP. Results In addition to experimentally demonstrating the reliability of the proposed features, the efficacy of the proposed features has also been tested by using them to classify two age groups (18–24 and 65–73 years) in quiet standing. The experimental results show that the proposed features are considerably more sensitive to aging than one of the most effective conventional COP features and two recently proposed COM features. Conclusions By extracting information from the correlation patterns of the VGRF components, this study proposes three sets of features to assess human postural stability during quiet standing. As demonstrated by the experimental results, the proposed features are not only robust to inter-trial variability but also more accurate than the tested COP and COM features in classifying the older and younger age groups. An additional advantage of the proposed approach is that it reduces the force sensing requirement from 3D to 1D, substantially reducing the cost of the force plate measurement system.
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Background: Athletes have been shown to exhibit better balance compared to non-athletes (NON). However, few studies have investigated how the surface on which athletes train affects the strategies adopted to maintain balance. Two distinct athlete groups who experience different types of sport-specific balance training are stable surface athletes (SSA) such as basketball players and those who train on unstable surfaces (USA) such as surfers. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of training surface on dynamic balance in athletes compared to NON. Methods: Eight NON, eight SSA, and eight USA performed five 20-s trials in each of five experimental conditions including a static condition and four dynamic conditions in which the support surface translated in the anteroposterior (AP) or mediolateral (ML) planes using positive or negative feedback paradigms. Approximate entropy (ApEn) and root mean square distance (RMS) of the center of pressure (CoP) were calculated for the AP and ML directions. Four 3 × 5 (group × condition) repeated measures ANOVAs were used to determine significant effects of group and condition on variables of interest. Results: USA exhibited smaller ApEn values than SSA in the AP signals while no significant differences were observed in the ML CoP signals. Generally, the negative feedback conditions were associated with significantly greater RMS values than the positive feedback conditions. Conclusion: USA exhibit unique postural strategies compared to SSA. These unique strategies seemingly exhibit a direction-specific attribute and may be associated with divergent motor control strategies.
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Balance and mobility assessment, and the estimation of the risk of falls, represent crucial elements for supporting a healthy aging process. In this work, we evaluated the association of two approaches used to estimate standing balance and sit-to-stand abilities in community-dwelling older people. The clinical-based test was the Short Physical Performance Battery, while the laboratory-based assessments were realized by means of output measures obtained with the Wii Balance Board. The correlation between clinical scores and laboratory measures showed poor association for the standing balance test (.05 for sit-to-stand ability levels. These findings seem to support the feasibility of using the Wii Balance Board for the assessment of balance and sit-to-stand abilities in elderly people. Therefore, medical practitioners could use this device with the clinical test for obtaining more useful information for their analysis.
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Context: Dynamic postural stability is important for injury prevention, but little is known about how lower-extremity musculoskeletal characteristics (range of motion [ROM] and strength) contribute to dynamic postural stability. Knowing which modifiable physical characteristics predict dynamic postural stability can help direct rehabilitation and injury-prevention programs. Objective: To determine if trunk, hip, knee, and ankle flexibility and strength variables are significant predictors of dynamic postural stability during single-leg jump landings. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: 94 male soldiers (age 28.2 ± 6.2 y, height 176.5 ± 2.6 cm, weight 83.7 ± 26.0 kg). Intervention: None. Main outcome measures: Ankle-dorsiflexion and plantar-flexion ROM were assessed with a goniometer. Trunk, hip, knee, and ankle strength were assessed with an isokinetic dynamometer or handheld dynamometer. The Dynamic Postural Stability Index (DPSI) was used to quantify postural stability. Simple linear and backward stepwise-regression analyses were used to identify which physical characteristic variables were significant predictors of DPSI. Results: Simple linear-regression analysis revealed that individually, no variables were significant predictors of the DPSI. Stepwise backward-regression analysis revealed that ankle-dorsiflexion flexibility, ankle-inversion and -eversion strength, and knee-flexion and -extension strength were significant predictors of the DPSI (R2 = .19, P = .0016, adjusted R2 = .15). Conclusion: Ankle-dorsiflexion ROM, ankle-inversion and -eversion strength, and knee-flexion and -extension strength were identified as significant predictors of dynamic postural stability, explaining a small amount of the variance in the DPSI.