Can Attention Focus Instructions Reduce the Effects of Fatigue on Balance Control?
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Localized muscular fatigue has been identified to have detrimental effects on balance control, an important skill for everyday life. Manipulation of attention focus instructions has been shown to benefit performance of various motor skills including balance and has been found to facilitate endurance during fatiguing tasks. The purpose of this thesis was to determine if the use of attention focus instructions could attenuate the effects of muscular fatigue on balance control. Twenty-four participants performed a balance task (two-legged stance on an unstable platform) before and after a fatigue protocol. Trunk sway, platform excursions, and lower limb muscle activity was measured. Results suggest that use of either internal or external attention focus instructions can reduce the immediate effects of muscular fatigue of the lower limb on balance control as shown through reduced trunk sway and platform excursions. These results have relevance for individuals performing balance tasks in a fatigued state.