Background: Aging is associated with slowed gait and old compared with young adults generally walk with greater positive hip work (H1) and reduced positive ankle work (A2). The role of exercise interventions on old adults' gait mechanics that underlie training-induced improvements in gait velocity is unclear. We examined the effects of lower extremity power training and detraining on old adults' gait kinetics.
Methods: As part of the Potsdam Gait Study (POGS), healthy old adults completed a no-intervention control period (69.1 +/- 4A yrs, n =14) or a power training program followed by detraining (72.9 +/- 5.4 yrs, n = 15).We measured isokinetic knee extensor and plantarflexor power and measured hip, knee and ankle kinetics at habitual, fast and standardized walking speeds.
Results: Power training significantly increased isokinetic knee extensor power (25%), plantarflexor power (43%), and fast gait velocity (5.9%). Gait mechanics underlying the improved fast gait velocity included increases in hip angular impulse (29%) and H1 work (37%) and no changes in positive knee (K2) and A2 work. Detraining further improved fast gait velocity (4.7%) with reductions in H1(-35%), and increases in K2 (36%) and A2 (7%).
Conclusion: Power training increased fast gait velocity in healthy old adults by increasing the reliance on hip muscle function and thus further strengthened the age-related distal-to-proximal shift in muscle function. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.