Although considerable arm movements have been observed at loss of balance, research on standing balance focused primarily on the ankle and hip strategies. This study aimed to investigate the effect of arm motion on feet-in-place balance recovery. Participants stood on a single force plate and leaned forward with a straight body posture. They were then released from three forward-lean angles and regained balance without moving their forefeet under arm-swing (AS) and arm-constrained (AC) conditions. Higher success rates and shorter recovery times were found with arm motion under moderate balance perturbations. Recovery time was significantly correlated with peak linear momentum of the arms. Circumduction arm motion caused initial shoulder extension (backward arm movement) to generate reaction forces to pull the body forward, but later forward linear momentum of the arms helped move the whole body backward to avoid forward falling. However, greater lean angles increased difficulty in balance recovery, making the influences of the arms less significant. Since arm motions were observed in all participants with significantly enhanced performance under moderate balance perturbation, it was concluded that moving the arms should also be considered (together with the ankles and hips) as an effective strategy for balance recovery.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering