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      Gender Differences in Postural Stability among 13-Year-Old Alpine Skiers

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          Abstract

          This experiment examined changes in body sway after Wingate test (WAnT) in 19 adolescents practicing alpine skiing, subjected to the same type of training load for 4–5 years (10 girls and nine boys). The postural examinations were performed with eyes open (EO), eyes closed (EC), and sway reverenced vision (SRV) in the medial-lateral (ML) and anterior-posterior (AP) planes. The displacement of center of foot pressure (CoP), range of sway (RS), mean sway velocity (MV), way length, and surface area were measured in bipedal upright stance before and after the WAnT to assess the influence of fatigue on postural balance. There were no significant differences in WAnT parameters between girls and boys. Relative peak power (RPP), relative total work (RWtot) were (girls vs. boys) 8.89 ± 0.70 vs. 9.57 ± 1.22 W/kg, p < 0.05 and 227.91 ± 14.98 vs. 243.22 ± 30.24 W/kg, p < 0.05 respectively. The fatigue index (FI) was also on similar level in both genders; however, blood lactate concentration (BLa) was significantly higher in boys (10.35 ± 1.16 mM) than in girls (8.67 ± 1.35 mM) p = 0.007. In the EO examination, statistically significant differences between resting and fatigue conditions in the whole group and after the division into girls and boys were found. In fatigue conditions, significant gender differences were noted for measurements in the ML plane (sway path and RS) and RS in the AP plane. Comparison of the three conditions shows differences between EO vs. EC and SRV in AP plane measured parameters, and for RS in ML plane in rest condition in girls. The strong correlations between FI and CoP parameters mainly in ML plane in the whole group for all examination conditions were noted. By genders, mainly RS in ML plane strongly correlates with FI (r > 0.7). No correlation was found between BLa and CoP parameters ( p > 0.06). The presented results indicate that subjecting adolescents of both genders to the same training may reduce gender differences in the postural balance ability at rest but not in fatigue conditions and that girls are significantly superior in postural balance in the ML plane than boys. It was also shown that too little or too much information may be destructive to postural balance in young adolescents.

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          Most cited references 62

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          Visually controlled locomotion and visual orientation in animals.

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            Effect of lower-extremity muscle fatigue on postural control.

            To examine the effects of fatigue of the lower extremity on postural control during single-leg stance. Pretest-posttest. University research laboratory. Fourteen healthy volunteers (age, 21+/-2y) with no history of lower-extremity injury or neurologic deficits. Testing consisted of isokinetically fatiguing the sagittal plane movers of the ankle, knee, or hip with measures of static postural control. Postural control was assessed with three 30-second trials during unilateral stance with eyes open. Center of pressure excursion velocity (COPV) in the frontal and sagittal planes. Fatigue at the knee and hip led to postural control impairment in the frontal plane, whereas fatigue at the ankle did not. In the sagittal plane, fatigue at all 3 joints contributed to postural control impairment. Our results suggest that there is an effect of localized fatigue of the sagittal plane movers of the lower extremity on COPV. It appears that fatigue about the hip and knee had a greater adverse affect on COPV.
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              Effect of age and sex on maturation of sensory systems and balance control.

              Maintenance of postural balance requires an active sensorimotor control system. Current data are limited and sometimes conflicting regarding the influence of the proprioceptive, visual, and vestibular afferent systems on posture control in children. This study investigated the development of sensory organization according to each sensory component in relation to age and sex. A total of 140 children (70 males, 70 females; mean age 10y [SD 4y]; age range 3y 5mo-16y 2mo) and 20 adults (10 males, 10 females; mean age 30y 6mo [SD 8y 4mo]; age range 17y 2mo-49y 1mo) were examined using the Sensory Organization Test. Participants were tested in three visual conditions (eyes open, blindfolded, and sway-referenced visual enclosure) while standing on either a fixed or a sway-referenced force platform. Mean equilibrium scores for the six balance conditions showed rapid increases and maturation ceiling levels for age-related development of the sensorimotor control system. Proprioceptive function seemed to mature at 3 to 4 years of age. Visual and vestibular afferent systems reached adult level at 15 to 16 years of age, revealing differences between young males and females. Characterizing balance impairments can contribute to the diagnostic evaluation of neuromotor disorders.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                29 May 2020
                June 2020
                : 17
                : 11
                Affiliations
                Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, University of Physical Education, 51-612 Wroclaw, Poland; agnieszka.jastrzebska@ 123456awf.wroc.pl
                Article
                ijerph-17-03859
                10.3390/ijerph17113859
                7312521
                32485867
                © 2020 by the author.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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                Public health

                fatigue, gender, postural control, alpine skiers, adolescents, wingate test, body sway

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