The effects of slow breathing on postural muscles during standing perturbations in young adults

Author: P Siedlecki1, T D Ivanova2, J K Shoemaker1, S J Garland3,4
1 School of Kinesiology, Western University, London, ON, N6A 3K7, Canada.
2 Faculty of Health Sciences, Western University, 1151 Richmond Street, London, ON, N6A 3K7, Canada.
3 Faculty of Health Sciences, Western University, 1151 Richmond Street, London, ON, N6A 3K7, Canada.
4 Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, Western University, London, ON, N6A 3K7, Canada.
Conference/Journal: Exp Brain Res
Date published: 2022 Aug 13
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1007/s00221-022-06437-0. , Word Count: 232

Maintaining standing balance is vital to completing activities in daily living. Recent findings suggest an interaction between cardiovascular and postural control systems. Volitional slow breathing can modulate the cardiovascular response and affect postural control during quiet standing. However, the effects of slow breathing during threats to standing balance have not been studied. The study examined the effect of slow breathing on the latency and amplitude of postural muscle responses to perturbations of the base of support in healthy, young adults. Twenty-seven participants completed two balance perturbation tasks in standing on an instrumented split-belt treadmill while breathing spontaneously and breathing at 6 breaths per minute. Each perturbation task consisted of 25 posteriorly directed translations of the treadmill belts every 8-12 s. Muscle latency and muscle burst amplitude were measured using surface electromyography from the right limb for the quadriceps (QUADS), medial hamstring (MH), gastrocnemii (GASTROC), soleus (SOL), and tibialis anterior (TA) muscle groups, while a respiratory belt was used to record respiratory rate. Results indicated that during the slow breathing task both muscle latency (p = 0.022) and muscle burst amplitude (p = 0.011) decreased compared to spontaneous breathing. The EMG pre-perturbation activation was not significantly different in any muscle group between conditions (p > 0.167). The study found that reducing respiratory rate to approximately 6 breaths per minute affects the neuromuscular responses in the lower limb muscles to perturbations.

Keywords: Electromyography; Postural control; Respiration.

PMID: 35962803 DOI: 10.1007/s00221-022-06437-0