Associations between trunk postural control in walking and unstable sitting at various levels of task demand

Julian C. Acasio, Courtney M. Butowicz, Pawel R. Golyski, Maury A. Nussbaum, Brad D. Hendershot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Trunk postural control (TPC) has been investigated in several populations and tasks. Previous work observed targeted training of TPC via isolated trunk control tasks may improve performance in other activities (e.g., walking). However, the nature of this relationship remains unknown. We therefore investigated the relationship between TPC, at both the global (i.e., response to finite perturbations) and local (i.e., resistance to continuous perturbations) levels, during walking and unstable sitting, both at varying levels of task demand. Thirteen individuals (11 Male, 2 Female) with no recent history (past 12 months) of illness, injury, or musculoskeletal disorders walked on a dual-belt treadmill at four speeds (−20%, −10%, +10%, and + 20% of self-selected walking speed) and completed an unstable sitting task at four levels of chair instability (100, 75, 60, and 45% of an individual's “neutral” stability as defined by the gravitational gradient). Three-dimensional trunk and pelvic kinematics were collected. Tri-planar Lyapunov exponents and sample entropy characterized local TPC. Global TPC was characterized by ranges of motion and, for seated trials, metrics derived from center-of-pressure time series (i.e., path length, 95% confidence ellipse area, mean velocity, and RMS position). No strong or significant correlations (−0.057 < ρ < 0.206) were observed between local TPC during walking and unstable sitting tasks. However, global TPC declined in both walking and unstable sitting as task demand increased, with a moderate inter-task relationship (0.336 < ρ < 0.544). While the mechanisms regulating local TPC are inherently different, global TPC may be similarly regulated across both tasks, supporting future translation of improvements in TPC between tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-185
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
StatePublished - 25 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomechanics
  • Center of pressure
  • Lyapunov exponents
  • Sample entropy
  • Trunk stability


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