Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S.E.S. in Exercise Science


Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management

First Advisor

Yang-Chieh Fu

Second Advisor

Hsien-Yuan Hsu

Third Advisor

John C. Garner

Relational Format



Background: Moderate to vigorous physical activity as the optimum movement patterns for health have continued to be the dominant focus of health and fitness research. Yet, emerging evidence of deleterious, adverse health effects of prolonged inactivity, independent of regular physical activity, presents a new element to establishing the ideal model of movement patterns for health. The musculoskeletal trunk of the body becomes unbalanced as a result of prolonged inactivity, and a biomechanical analysis can help to identify high-risk loading behavior associated with these unbalances. Moreover, poor spine biomechanics can indicate a need for adjustment to present recommendations for optimum movement patterns. Some research of spine biomechanics associated with sedentary occupation or lifestyle exists. However, up to the author’s knowledge, no research exists on sedentary lifestyle independent of recreational physical fitness in respect to spine biomechanics. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify biomechanical patterns and significant differences in lifting biomechanics among individuals who are occupationally inactive and active, as well as recreationally active and inactive. Methods: Participants were divided into four groups using the Cambridge EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition)-Norfolk Physical Activity Questionnaire (EPAQ2): inactive, moderately inactive, moderately active, and active. A total of 23 participants completed the protocol. Spine kinematics of lifting was collected through VICON motion capture system. Additionally, ground reaction forces (GRF) and ground reaction moments (GRM) were collected by forceplate. Kinematic dependent variables were calculated from joint angle curves of trunk segments; included was maximum angular displacement of the middle trunk and lower trunk. Kinetic dependent variables were calculated from the GRF and GRM data, including maximum anterior excursion, maximum anterior velocity, and sway area of the center of pressure (COP) trajectories. Difference of each dependent variable between groups was detected by 1-way ANOVA. When difference existed, post-hoc pair-wise comparisons were conducted and Bonferroni correction was applied to minimize family-wise errors. The significance level was set at α = 0.05. Hypothesis: Participants who maintain an inactive lifestyle, regardless of recreational physical activity, will exhibit significantly different lifting biomechanics when compared to the lifting biomechanics of an active population performing the same lifting tasks. Results: Results indicated a statistically significant difference in flexion range of motion for the inactive group compared to all other groups (p=0.014). The inactive group had a significantly lower degree of flexion range of motion. Joint kinematic data indicated little difference between groups for the reaching phase and lift up phase of straight leg lifts. For bent leg lifts, the active population had significantly greater middle trunk flexion displacement during the reaching phase (p=0.005) and lifting phase (p=0.023) of bent leg lifts. No other significant differences existed between the other groups. Analysis of force platform data produced no significant differences between groups. Percent flexion range of motion was significantly different for the active population during the bent leg reaching phase and lifting phase compared with all other groups. The active population used a much larger degree of their total flexion range of motion to reach and lift up the box from the ground. Discussion: The current study aimed to investigate the effect of a largely inactive lifestyle, independent of regular participation in planned physical exercise, on spine kinematics, center of pressure, and range of motion. Results show evidence of a tendency for greater range of motion and greater flexion displacement of the active sample. Although not statistically significant, the inactive sample findings unexpectedly indicated a tendency for increased flexion displacement compared with the moderately active and moderately inactive groups. The moderately inactive group did not have any significant differences when compare to the moderately active group, which did not support the original hypothesis. However, the inactive group had poorer range of motion compared with all other groups, which supports the initial predictions. In summary, the inactive group presented some evidence of poor biomechanics. The active group shosigns of increased range of motion and flexibility. Finally, the moderately active and moderately inactive groups were very similar among all calculated variables. These findings support previous evidence of regular activity improving range of motion and flexibility. Occupational inactivity coupled with regular recreational activity appears to reduce the risk of developing poor lifting biomechanics.

Included in

Biomechanics Commons



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