Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Postural control in athletes participating in an ironman triathlon

  • Original Article
  • Published:
European Journal of Applied Physiology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Bouisset S, Duchene JL (1994) Is body balance more perturbed by respiration in seating than in standing posture? Neuroreport 5:957–960

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Conforto S, Schmid M, Camomilla V, D’Alessio T, Cappozzo A (2001) Hemodynamics as a possible internal mechanical disturbance to balance. Gait Posture 14:28–35

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Derave W, De Clercq D, Bouckaert J, Pannier J-L (2001) The influence of exercise and dehydration on postural stability. Ergonomics 41:782–789

    Google Scholar 

  • Derave W, Tombeux N, Cottyn J, Pannier J-L, De Clercq D (2002) Treadmill exercise negatively affects visual contribution to static postural stability. Int J Sports Med 23:44–49

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dietz V (1992) Human neuronal control of automatic functional movements: interaction between central programs and afferent input. Physiol Rev 72:33–69

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Douglas PS, O’Toole ML, Hiller WD, Hackney K, Reichek N (1987) Cardiac fatigue after prolonged exercise. Circulation 76:1206–1213

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Douglas PS, O’Toole ML, Katz SE (1998) Prolonged exercise alters cardiac chronotropic responsiveness in endurance athletes. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 38:158–163

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ebenbichler GR, Bonato P, Roy SH, Lehr S, Posch M, Kollmitzer J, Della Croce U (2002) Reliability of EMG time–frequency measures of fatigue during repetitive lifting. Med Sci Sports Exerc 34:1316–1323

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gauchard GS, Gangloff P, Vouriot A, Mallie JP, Perrin PP (2002) Effects of exercise-induced fatigue with and without hydration on static postural control in adult human subjects. Int J Neurosci 112:1191–1206

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Giacomini PG, Sorace F, Magrini A, Alessandrini M (1998) Alterations in postural control: the use of spectral analysis in stability measurement. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital 18:83–87

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ginsburg GS, O’Toole M, Rimm E, Douglas PS, Rifai N (2001) Gender differences in exercise-induced changes in sex hormone levels and lipid peroxidation in athletes participating in the Hawaii ironman triathlon. Ginsburg-gender and exercise-induced lipid peroxidation. Clin Chim Acta 305:131–139

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Golomer E, Dupui P, Bessou P (1994) Spectral frequency analysis of dynamic balance in healthy and injured athletes. Arch Int Physiol Biochim Biophys 102:225–229

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Golomer E, Dupui P, Monod H (1997) Sex-linked differences in equilibrium reactions among adolescents performing complex sensorimotor tasks. J Physiol (Paris) 91:49–55

    Google Scholar 

  • Golomer E, Crémieux J, Dupui P, Isableu B, Ohlmann T (1999) Visual contribution to self-induced body sway frequencies and visual perception of male professional dancers. Neurosci Lett 267:189–192

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hashiba M (1998) Transient change in standing posture after linear treadmill locomotion. Jpn J Physiol 48:499–504

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hodges PW, Gurfinkel VS, Brumagne S, Smith TC, Cordo PC (2002) Coexistence of stability and mobility in postural control: evidence from postural compensation for respiration. Exp Brain Res 144:293–302

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Holtzhausen LM, Noakes TD (1995) The prevalence and significance of post- exercise (postural) hypotension in ultramarathon runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc 27:1595–1601

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hunter IW, Kearney RE (1981) Respiratory components of human postural sway. Neurosci Lett 25:155–159

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Isableu B, Ohlmann T, Crémieux J, Amblard B (1997) Selection of spatial frame of reference and postural control variability. Exp Brain Res 114:584–589

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Johnston RB, Howard ME, Cawley PW, Losse GM (1998) Effect of lower extremity muscular fatigue on motor control performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 30:1703–1707

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kincl LD, Bhattacharya A, Succop P, Clark CS (2002) Postural sway measurements: a potential safety monitoring technique for workers wearing personal protective equipment. Appl Occup Environ Hyg 17:256–266

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kohen-Raz R, Himmelfarb M, Tzur S, Kohen-Raz A, Shub Y (1996) An initial evaluation of work fatigue and circadian changes an assessed by multiplate posturography. Percept Mot Skills 82:547–557

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Laursen PB, Rhodes EC, Langill RH, McKenzie DC, Taunton JE (2002) Relationship of exercise test variables to cycling performance in an ironman triathlon. Eur J Appl Physiol 87:433–440

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lepers R, Bigard AX, Diard JP, Gouteyron JF, Guezennec CY (1997) Posture control after prolonged exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 76:55–61

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Lepers R, Maffiuletti NA, Rochette L, Brugniaux J, Millet GY (2002) Neuromuscular fatigue during a long-duration cycling exercise. J Appl Physiol 92:1487–1493

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Millet GY, Lepers R, Maffiuletti N, Babault N, Martin V, Lattier G (2002) Alterations of neuromuscular function after an ultramarathon. J Appl Physiol 92:486–492

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Nardone A, Giordano A, Corrá T, Schieppati M (1990) Responses of leg muscles in humans displaced while standing. Effects of types of perturbation and of postural set. Brain 102:65–84

    Google Scholar 

  • Nardone A, Tarantola A, Giordano A, Schieppati M (1997) Fatigue effects on body balance. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 105:309–320

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Nardone A, Tarantola J, Galante M, Schieppati M (1998) Time course of stabilometric changes after a strenuous treadmill exercise. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 79:920–924

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Nussbaum MA (2003) Postural stability is compromised by fatiguing overhead work. AIHA J (Fairfax, Va) 64:56–61

    Google Scholar 

  • Nyland JA, Caborn DN, Shapiro R, Johnson DL (1997) Fatigue after eccentric quadriceps femoris work produces earlier gastrocnemius and delayed quadricpes femoris activation during crossover cutting among normal athletic women. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 5:162–167

    Google Scholar 

  • Oppenheim U, Kohen-Raz R, Alex D, Kohen-Raz A, Azarya M (1999) Postural characteristic of diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes Care 22:328–332

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Rifai N, Douglas PS, O’Toole M, Rimm E, Ginsburg GS (1999) Cardiac troponin T and I, electrocardiographic wall motion analyses, and ejection fractions in athletes participating in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. Am J Cardiol 83:1085–1089

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Schieppati M, Hugon M, Grasso M, Nardone A, Galante M (1994) The limits of equilibrium in young and elderly normal subjects and in Parkinsonians. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 93:286–298

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Soames RW, Atha J (1982) The spectral characteristics of postural sway behaviour. Eur J Appl Physiol 49:169–177

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Vuillerme N, Nougier V, Teasdale N (2000) Effects of reaction time task on postural control in humans. Neurosci Lett 291:77–80

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Vuillerme N, Danion F, Marin L, Boyadjian A, Prieur J, Weise I, Nougier V (2001a) The effect of expertise in gymnastics on postural control. Neurosci Lett 303:83–86

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Vuillerme N, Nougier V, Prieur J (2001b) Can vision compensate for a lower limbs muscular fatigue for controlling posture in humans? Neurosci Lett 308:103–106

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Vuillerme N, Danion F, Forestier N, Nougier V (2002) Postural sway under muscle vibration and muscle fatigue in humans. Neurosci Lett 333:131–135

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Whyte G, Lumley S, George K, Gates P, Sharma S, Prased K, McKenna WJ (2000) Physiological profile and predictors of cycling performance in ultra-endurance triathletes. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 40:103–109

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Winter DA, Prince F, Frank JS, Powell C, Zabjek KF (1996) Unified theory regarding A/P and M/L balance in quiet stance. J Neurophysiol 75:2334–2343

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Yaggie JA, McGregor SJ (2002) Effects of isokinetic ankle fatigue on the maintenance of balance and postural limits. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 83:224–228

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgement

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

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gyöngyi Horvath.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Nagy, E., Toth, K., Janositz, G. et al. Postural control in athletes participating in an ironman triathlon. Eur J Appl Physiol 92, 407–413 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-004-1157-7

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-004-1157-7

Keywords

Navigation