European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 92, Issue 4–5, pp 407–413 | Cite as

Postural control in athletes participating in an ironman triathlon

  • Edit Nagy
  • Kalman Toth
  • Gabor Janositz
  • Gyula Kovacs
  • Anna Feher-Kiss
  • Lajos Angyan
  • Gyöngyi Horvath
Original Article


We studied the degree of dependence on vision of static postural control among ten male adult ironmen and ten healthy subjects (firemen, control group) who took part in regular physical activity, and the perturbations of equilibrium after prolonged exercise in ironmen. Static postural stability was measured during standing on a single-force platform alternating between eyes open and eyes closed. First, body sway was analysed on a force plate in both groups, and the athletes then took part in an ironman triathlon. The measurement was repeated after the race. The sway in both directions was subjected to spectral analysis. The frequency spectrum of the platform oscillations was calculated by fast Fourier transformation in the intervals 0–0.3, 0.3–1 and 1–3 Hz. The sway path in both directions and the total path were significantly lower in the ironmen than in the control group without vision, and the absence of visual control caused a significant increase in sway in both directions in the control group, but not in the ironmen. The frequency analysis revealed a higher level of stability in the medio–lateral direction with closed eyes. The endurance race caused increases in both the total sway path only with closed eyes, and these changes were significant at higher frequency bands. These results indicate that ironmen are more stable and less dependent on vision for postural control than the control subjects, and the prolonged stimulation of the proprioceptive, vestibular and visual inputs in the endurance race causes a significant disturbance in postural control.


Fatigue Exercise Human Postural sway Triathlon 



The authors are grateful to D. Durham for linguistic correction of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edit Nagy
    • 1
  • Kalman Toth
    • 2
  • Gabor Janositz
    • 2
  • Gyula Kovacs
    • 2
  • Anna Feher-Kiss
    • 1
  • Lajos Angyan
    • 4
  • Gyöngyi Horvath
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health ScienceUniversity of SzegedSzegedHungary
  2. 2.Department of OrthopedicsJozsef Hollos County HospitalKecskemetHungary
  3. 3.Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of SzegedSzegedHungary
  4. 4.Institute of Human Movement Sciences, Medical SchoolUniversity of PécsPécsHungary

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