Investigating the influence of various types of recreation physical activity on joint position sense


Maintaining good joint position sense (JPS) is vital for many activities of daily living. Unfortunately, throughout the aging process JPS tends to decline as a function of age. Recently research has been looking into types physical activity to prevent this decline, specifically tai chi and dance (Li, 2008-2009; Kiefer, 2013). These studies have shown improvements in joint position sense when looking at professional athletes or intense intervention programs. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to determine if improvements in JPS can be seen in recreational athletes who participate in a variety of sports and physical activity. Joint position sense was measured in 55 young adults (m=19, f=36 ) using a Vernier goniometer in the elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles at 2 mid-range angles. A background questionnaire was used to collect information on the types and amount of physical activity each participant practiced within the last 5 years. Participants were categorized into 4 physical activity groups based on where the joint positioning is most required: upper limb (hockey, golf, racquet sports), lower limb (soccer, jogging), and full body (yoga, martial arts, dance, gymnastics). Participants were grouped based on the type of physical activity in which they dedicated the most time per month. The results show that there is no significant difference in JPS between the groups at any of the joints measured (p=0.332). The results suggest that exercises designed specifically for improving joint position sense may be more beneficial for older adults than more general forms of physical activity.