A Kinematic And Kinetic Comparison Of Walking In Lean And Obese People

  • A. Abdulrahman
  • C. Zebas
Keywords: kinematics, kinetic, overweight, walking


The basic prescription for overweight individuals is diet and exercise. One form of exercise frequently prescribed is walking. For the majority of individuals, walking poses few problems. However, for the obese individual, there may be some inherent complications which can result in discomfort and ultimately in an excuse to discontinue the exercise. The foundation for this premise lies in the analysis of the walking gait. The purpose of this study then was to kinematically and kinetically compare selected variables in the walking gait of lean and obese adult males. Ten lean adult males «10% body fat) and ten obese adult males (>25% body fat) participated in this study. Each subject was given six trials to walk at a freely selected pace on the force plate for the analysis of ground reaction forces (GRF), and three of the trials were filmed for the analysis of the kinematics of walking. Independent t-tests were performed on each of the selected variables. The results showed no significant differences in the kinematic and kinetic variables of speed of walking; stride length; stride time; vertical excursion of the center of gravity; angular displacement of the trunk, thigh, knee, and ankle; vertical GRF; and fore and aft GRF. There were, however, significant differences in the percent time spent in stance and swing phases of the walk, and in the medio-Iateral GRF at footstrike. Obese individuals tended to spend more time in the stance phase than the swing phase, and the medio-Iateral GRF were less. This may indicate that obese people tend to require more energy and perhaps more balance in their walking as has been considered by previous research. It also may indicate that obese individuals attempt to conserve the energy and increase their stability by distributing the mediolateral forces. The implications of this study suggest that obese individuals, among other things, should consider appropriate footwear while walking.