Using a body sensor network to measure the effect of fatigue on stair climbing performance

Jeroen H. M. Bergmann, Ian C. H. Smith, Ruth E. Mayagoitia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In terms of self-rated health, the most important activities of daily living are those involving mobility. Of these activities stair climbing is regarded as the most strenuous. A loss of stair climbing ability with age is normally associated with a loss of muscle strength and power, while other factors that influence muscle function, such as fatigue, are often not taken into account. So far no research has been published on how long-lasting fatigue affects activities of daily living, despite the fact that it has been repeatedly proven, in laboratory settings, to influence muscle force production over long periods of time. Technological advances in body sensor networks (BSNs) now provide a method to measure performance during complex real-life situations. In this study the use of a BSN was explored to investigate the effects of long-lasting fatigue on stair climbing performance in 20 healthy adults. Stair climbing performance was measured before and after a fatiguing protocol using a BSN. Performance was defined by temporal and spatial parameters. Long-lasting fatigue was successfully induced in all participants using an exercise protocol. The BSN showed that post-exercise fatigue did not influence stair climbing times (p > 0.2) and no meaningful changes in joint angles were found. No effect on overall stair climbing performance was found, despite a clear presence of long-lasting fatigue. This study shows that physiological paradigms can be further explored using BSNs. Ecological validity of lab-based measurements can be increased by combining them with BSNs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287 - 296
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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