Relative Effort while Walking Is Higher among Women Who Are Obese, and Older Women

Purpose Individuals who are obese, and older individuals, exhibit gait alterations that may result, in part, from walking with greater effort relative to their maximum strength capacity. The goal of this study was to investigate obesity-related and age-related differences in relative effort during gait. Methods Four groups of women completed the study, including 10 younger healthy-weight, 10 younger obese, 10 older healthy-weight, and 9 older obese women. The protocol included strength measurements at the hip, knee, and ankle in both flexion and extension, and gait trials under self-selected and constrained (1.5 m·s−1 gait speed and 0.65-m step length) conditions. Relative effort was calculated as the ratio of joint torques during gait, and strength from a subject-specific model that predicted strength as a function of joint angle. Results Relative effort during self-selected gait was higher among women who were obese in knee extension (P = 0.028) and ankle plantar flexion (P = 0.013). Although both joint torques and strength were higher among women who were obese, these increases in relative effort were attributed to greater obesity-related increases in joint torques than strength. Relative effort was also higher among older women in hip flexion (P
Source: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise - Category: Sports Medicine Tags: APPLIED SCIENCES Source Type: research

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