Alex Rizzato

Ritratto Alex Rizzato

Neuroscience, Technology, and Society, XXXV series
Grant sponsor

Ledragomma Original Pezzi S.r.l.

Antonio Paoli
Alessandro Beghi

Project description
Employment of gymnastic balls during the daily-living training is a common practice in rehabilitation protocols and athletic programs for training and injury prevention. The use of such devices can also contribute to enhance the muscle effort in several exercises. For instance, a significant activation in trunk muscles was found when subjects performed crunches or upper body exercises on a gymnastic ball and a squat exercise with feet on balance discs. It has been showed a different muscle activations when the same exercise is performed on floor or on a labile surface. However, some other studies showed inconsistency in electromyographic response to destabilizing exercises. These findings rise the question whether unstable devices may be useful in training protocols or not. When prescribing exercise, one of the most important principles is tailoring the exercise programs to the individual goals. Despite their employment in the daily practice, no studies objectively quantified the effect of gymnastic ball shapes or diameter on core muscle activity, body posture and center of pressure trajectory. Moreover, no computer-based device exist, at the moment, for gymnastic ball. I aim to understand how different characteristics of gymnastic balls (diameter, shapes, inflation pressure) can influence exercise execution’s difficulty. Also, I aim to provide the gymnastic balls with sensors to increase the real-time actual feedback of performed movement and the compliance to an exercise protocol. The subject, interacting with virtual environments, may perform predetermined tasks for functional recovery or may simply exercise at greater and more precise intensities compared to traditional therapies. Specific guidelines and exercise programs can be prescribed to maximize or minimize exercise difficulty according to the needs or the pathologies of the population. Also, specific advice can be recommended to the company.