Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Age and Gender Differences in Lower Extremity Control Descending Stairs

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Age and Gender Differences in Lower Extremity Control Descending Stairs

Article excerpt

Timothy S. Hilliard, Andrew M Weiner, Jennifer L. Cann, and Vincent P Simmarano, Northeastern University

Researchers have identified many possible causes of increased falls in the elderly. Declining strength, increased postural sway, visual deficits and changes in proprioceptor function have all been linked to falling. Less clear is whether changes in muscle activation patterns may also be involved. In order to examine such patterns, a pilot study was undertaken using stair descent as the task. Eleven participants were tested and divided into four groups: Younger women age 18-30 (YF); Younger men ages 18-30 years (YM); Older women (OF) ages 55-70 years; and older men (OM) ages 55-70 years. All participants were tested on 3 days within a 4-day period. On each test day, participants were required to descend a set of 4 stairs (at a frequency 1.5 Hz), a total of 10 times. A digital metronome was used to standardize the rate of stair descent across participants. Each trial was separated by a 1-mm rest interval to prevent fatigue. Electromyographic (EMG) recordings from the right tibialis anterior (TA) and gastrocnemi us (GA) muscles were sampled at 1000 Hz for 5 s during each trial to ensure all preparatory activation would be included in the recordings. …

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