Different ankle muscle coordination patterns and co-activation during quiet stance between young adults and seniors do not change after a bout of high intensity training

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Authors

  • Lars Donath
  • Eduard Kurz
  • Ralf Roth
  • Lukas Zahner
  • Oliver Faude

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BACKGROUND: Available evidence suggests that young adults and seniors use different strategies to adjust for increasing body sway during quiet standing. Altered antagonist muscle co-activation and different ankle muscle coordination patterns may account for this finding. Consequently, we aimed at addressing whether aging leads to changes in neuromuscular coordination patterns as well as co-activation during quiet stance. We additionally investigated whether a bout of high intensity interval training additionally alters these patterns.

METHODS: Twenty healthy seniors (age: 70 ± 4 y) and twenty young adults (age: 27 ± 3 y) were enrolled in the present study. In between the testing procedures, four consecutive high-intensity intervals of 4 min duration at a target exercise intensity of 90 to 95% HRmax were completed on a treadmill. The total center of pressure (COP) path length displacement served as standing balance performance outcome. In order to assess ankle muscle coordination patterns, amplitude ratios (AR) were calculated for each muscle (e.g. tibialis anterior (TA) [%] = (TA × 100)/(gastrocnemius medialis (GM) + soleus (SOL) + peroneus longus (PL) + TA). The co-activation was calculated for the SOL and TA muscles computing the co-activation index (CAI = 2 × TA/TA + SOL).

RESULTS: Seniors showed an inverted ankle muscle coordination pattern during single limb stance with eyes open (SLEO), compared to young adults (rest: GM, S: 15 ± 8% vs Y: 24 ± 9%; p = 0.03; SOL, S: 27 ± 14% vs Y: 37 ± 18%; p = 0.009; TA, S: 31 ± 13% vs Y: 13 ± 7%; p = 0.003). These patterns did not change after a high-intensity training session. A moderate correlation between amplitude ratios of the TA-contribution and postural sway was observed for seniors during SLEO (r = 0.61). Ankle co-activation was twofold elevated in seniors compared to young adults during SLEO (p < 0.001). These findings were also not affected by high intensity training.

CONCLUSION: Increased ankle co-activation in the anterior-posterior plane and inverted ankle muscle coordination pattern merely occurred during single-leg stance. Seniors with decreased postural control showed higher TA contributions during SLEO. These neuromuscular changes are not affected by acute intermittent high intensity aerobic exercise.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume15
Pages (from-to)19
ISSN1471-2318
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 04.03.2015

ID: 3298292

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