Postural control in athletes participating in an ironman triathlon

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

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-413
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2004



  • Exercise
  • Fatigue
  • Human
  • Postural sway
  • Triathlon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)

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