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Medicina dello Sport 2019 June;72(2):200-15

DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.19.03482-3


language: English, Italian

Associations between balance and other fundamental motor skills in pre-adolescents

Janja GROŠELJ 1, Damjan OSREDKAR 2, Vedrana SEMBER 1, Maja PAJEK 1

1 Faculty of Sports, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia; 2 Department of Pediatric Neurology, University Children’s Hospital Ljubljana, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia


BACKGROUND: Balance and motor skills are essential prerequisites for normal physical development of a child. The aim of our study was to examine the relationship between balance ability and fundamental motor skills in pre-pubertal population. We also investigated the effect of morphology on balance tests in healthy pre-adolescents.
METHODS: In 217 eleven-year-old pre-adolescents (118 boys and 99 girls), we studied the body response under static and dynamic conditions by using two static balance tests (flamingo test and one-leg stance on the low beam) and dynamic balance test walking on the low beam. Other fundamental motor skills were measured with SLOFIT motor assessment tools, which regularly and systematically monitor the physical fitness of children and adolescents for more than 30 years and with more than one million measurement sets until now.
RESULTS: Spearman correlations coefficients between balance and fundamental motor skill performance were examined. We found significant associations between static balance and coordination (r=0.553, P<0.01), abdominal strength (r=-0.435, P<0.01), aerobic endurance (r=0.556, P<0.01), speed (r=0.469, P<0.01), explosive muscle power (r=-0.482, P<0.01) and flexed arm hang (r=-0.519, P<0.01) in boys. Dynamic balance ability was significantly related to explosive muscle power (r=-0.429, P<0.01) and aerobic endurance (r=0.427, P<0.01). Body height (r=-0.300, P<0.01) and weight (r=-0.490, P<0.01) were only associated with static balance tested on a lifted narrow beam in boys.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that balance and motor skill performance of preadolescents are associated with each other and support the design of interventional trials with specified exercises that strengthen associated motor abilities to improve balance ability in pre-adolescents.

KEY WORDS: Postural balance; Motor skills; Muscle strength; Physical fitness

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