GENDER DIFFERENCES IN INSTRUMENTED TREKKING POLE USE DURING DOWNHILL WALKING
Keywords: gait, hiking, forces, electromyography
AbstractThis study examined gender differences when hiking downhill with and without trekking poles. Fourteen men and thirteen women were recruited who had hiking and poling experience. Integrated and peak GRF and braking forces (BF), integrated EMG, and trekking pole forces were collected and analyzed. A MANOVA using mean gain scores examined statistical significance (p=.05). Moderate correlations were noted for pole forces and the dependent variables, but no statistical significance was found for the mean gain scores between gender. Trends were noted for peak Fz and BF between gender, with men demonstrating a greater reduction in forces. Men on average also generated greater pole loads, even when normalized for body mass. Four distinct patterns of pole use effectiveness were observed posthoc, but crossed gender lines. Overall, pole loading may be a contributing mechanism to a reduction in forces and muscle activity for men more so than women, but high subject variability limits the strength of this conclusion.
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