Study of the muscular activation in obese and non-obese subjects during lifting loads

By Colim, Ana; Arezes, Pedro; Flores, Paulo; Braga, Ana Cristina; Arezes, P; Baptista, JS; Barroso, MP; Carneiro&c

Sho2015: International Symposium on Occupational Safety and Hygiene



The obesity prevalence is increasing among the workforce of the developed countries. However, obesity seems to negatively affect the individuals’ work performance. In occupational contexts, manual lifting tasks are frequent and can produce significant muscle loading. With the aim of analysing the possible effect of obesity on workers’ muscular activation, surface electromyography data were collected from six muscles recruited during these tasks. In the current study, 6 different tasks of manual lifting (3 loads × 2 lifting styles) were performed by 14 participants with different obesity levels. Electromyography data normalization was based on the percentage of maximum contraction during each task. The muscles’ activation times before each task were also calculated. The current study suggests that obesity can increase the maximum contraction during each task and the delays on muscles’ activation time. This study suggests that obese individuals can present some changes on their muscle activation during lifting, when comparing with non-obese individuals, and reinforces the need to develop further studies focused on obesity as a risk factor for musculoskeletal disorders development.


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