Slow walking speed paired with increased energy cost is a strong predictor for mortality and disability in older adults but has yet to be examined in a heterogenous sample (i.e. age, gender, disease status). The purpose of this study was to examine energy cost of slow and normal walking speeds among low- and normal-functioning adults.
Adults 20-90 years old were recruited for this study. Participants completed a 10-m functional walk test at a self-selected normal walking speed, and were categorized as low-functioning (LF) or normal-functioning (NF) based upon expected age and gender adjusted average gait speed. Participants completed two successive 3-minute walking stages, at slower than normal and normal walking speeds, respectively. Gas exchange was measured, and energy cost per meter (ml.kg-1.m-1) was calculated for both walking speeds.
Energy cost per meter was higher (p<0.0001) in the LF group (n=76; female=59.21%; age 61.13±14.68 years (mean±SD)) during the slower than normal and normal (p<0.0001) walking speed bouts compared with the NF group (n=42; female=54.76%; age 51.55±19.51 years).
Low-functioning adults rely on greater energy cost per meter of walking at slower and normal speeds. This has implications for total daily energy expenditure in low-functioning, adult populations.
1Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, 53201
2Center for Aging and Translational Research, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, WI, 53201
3Department of Mathematics & Statistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, 01003
4Department of Physical Therapy, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, 53233
5Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, 60611
Corresponding Author: Scott J. Strath; firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Disclosures: The authors have no competing interests. This work was supported by funding from the NIH 1R21HD080828.