Leisure sports and postural control: Can a black belt protect your balance from aging?

Ralf T. Krampe, Caroline Smolders, Michail Doumas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


To determine potential benefits of intensive leisure sports for age-related changes in postural control, we tested 3 activity groups comprising 70 young (M = 21.67 years, SD = 2.80) and 73 older (M = 62.60 years, SD = 5.19) men. Activity groups were martial artists, who held at least 1st Dan (black belt), sportive individuals exercising sports without explicit balance components, and nonsportive controls. Martial artists had an advantage over sportive individuals in dynamic posture tasks (upright stance on a sway-referenced platform), and these 2 active groups showed better postural control than nonsportive participants. Age-related differences in postural control were larger in nonsportive men compared with the 2 active groups, who were similar in this respect. In contrast, negative age differences in other sensorimotor and cognitive functions did not differ between activity groups. We concluded that individuals engaging in intensive recreational sports have long-term advantages in postural control. However, even in older martial artists with years of practice in their sports, we observed considerable differences favoring the young. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Social Psychology

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