Influence of gender and physical exercise on balance of healthy young adults

Sarina Francescato Torres, Júlia Guimarães Reis, Daniela Cristina Carvalho de Abreu


Objective: To verify the effects of gender and physical activity on postural sway. Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted to analyze upright balance of young men and women between the ages of 20-30, both active and sedentary. Study participants were 60 individuals, who were divided into: active women (n = 15), sedentary women (n = 15), active men (n = 15) and sedentary men (n = 15). The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) short form, was used to evaluate each participant’s level of physical activity. According to the questionnaire, active individuals are those who carry out moderate activity, with an energy expenditure between 3.5 and 6 METs (1 MET: 3.5 ml/kg/min), or vigorous activity, with an energy expenditure above 6 METs, at least three days a week for 20 minutes. To assess control of postural sway, we measured the amplitude and velocity of anteroposterior (AP) and mediolateral (ML) sway in standing position, with their eyes open and closed, with and without foam, on a force platform. Results: Comparison between genders revealed that, when compared to sedentary women, sedentary men displayed poorer performance in velocity and amplitude of AP postural control sway with their eyes closed, with and without foam. There were no differences in the amplitude and velocity of ML sway, both with open and closed eyes among groups (p < 0.05). There were no differences when comparing physically active men and women either. Conclusion: Sedentary men seem to rely more on vision for maintaining postural control in quiet standing situations with respect to women.

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