Characteristic Patterns Of Gait In Aged Populations Compared To A Young Adult Population

  • D. H. Sussman
Keywords: elderly, young, gait

Abstract

Exercise choices for aged populations necessarily decrease due to age related problems such as osteoporosis. Exercise walking has become very popular due to its cardiovascular benefits in conjunction with its low impact profile. Therefore, the recommended exercise mode of choice by physicians and researchers for aged patients is exercise walking. The purpose of this investigation was to begin to generate a data base for the walking gait characteristics of aged populations. Four healthy elderly men (mean age = 73.87 years) and four healthy young adult men (mean age =19.89 years) were compared during a 20 minute walk on a treadmill at a self selected walking pace. The PEAK Technologies Inc., 2D Motion Measurement System was utilized to analyze simultaneous rearview and sagittal views of the whole body during the 20 minute treadmill walk. The kinematic variables examined included stride length (SL), SL as a percentage of running speed (SLPRS), stride width (SW), angular displacement of the upper arm (DUA), DUA as a percentage of running speed (DUAPRS), angular velocity of the upper arm (VUA), VUA as a percentage of running speed (VUAPRS). Preliminary results show a significant (pc 0.05) increase in stride length as walking speed increased. These data showed a significant (p< 0.05) increase in stride width for the elderly population (1.24 + .4 ft) compared to the young adult population (0.89 + .7 ft). These data also show that as walking speed increases so does SL, DUA and VUA but not significantly, while SLPPRS remained relatively constant at all self-selected walking speeds. These results suggest that the comparison of the absolute gait patterns of elderly populations and young adult populations may not be the best tack to use in order to study the walking gait pattern of aged populations.