Not All Is Lost: Old Adults Retain Flexibility in Motor Behaviour during Sit-to-Stand

Christian Greve, Wiebren Zijlstra, Tibor Hortobagyi, Raoul M. Bongers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
259 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Sit-to-stand is a fundamental activity of daily living, which becomes increasingly difficult with advancing age. Due to severe loss of leg strength old adults are required to change the way they rise from a chair and maintain stability. Here we examine whether old compared to young adults differently prioritize task-important performance variables and whether there are age-related differences in the use of available motor flexibility. We applied the uncontrolled manifold analysis to decompose trial-to-trial variability in joint kinematics into variability that stabilizes and destabilizes task-important performance variables. Comparing the amount of variability stabilizing and destabilizing task-important variables enabled us to identify the variable of primary importance for the task. We measured maximal isometric voluntary force of three muscle groups in the right leg. Independent of age and muscle strength, old and young adults similarly prioritized stability of the ground reaction force vector during sit-to-stand. Old compared to young adults employed greater motor flexibility, stabilizing ground reaction forces during sit-to-sand. We concluded that freeing those degrees of freedom that stabilize task-important variables is a strategy used by the aging neuromuscular system to compensate for strength deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere77760
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25-Oct-2013

Keywords

  • AGE-RELATED-CHANGES
  • FORCE-PRODUCTION TASKS
  • MUSCLE STRENGTH
  • JOINT COORDINATION
  • CHAIR-RISE
  • SYNERGIES
  • VARIABILITY
  • CONSTRAINTS
  • MOVEMENT
  • VARIANCE

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