Pushing a Sled: Assessing its Impact on Gait Temporospatial Parameters in Young Healthy Adults [Texas Woman's University]
BACKGROUND: Resistance exercise (RE) has been demonstrated as a superior modality for increasing muscle strength, muscle endurance, power, and motor performance. The sled used in this study is a novel device that provides proportional increase in resistance with increased speed. PURPOSE: To examine the impact of resistance on gait temporospatial parameters using a resistance sled in healthy young adults while walking and running. METHODS: Fifteen young adults (ages 21-35) were recruited to participate in this study. Sensors (accelerometers and gyroscopes) were placed on each subject at the chest, waist, both wrists, and ankles. Each participant performed three trials of 40 feet for the following conditions: self-paced walking (W), self-paced walking while pushing the sled (WP), and maximal speed running while pushing the sled (RP). RESULTS: A repeated measures MANOVA was conducted to compare gait temporospatial parameters across conditions. Results indicate significant differences (P <0.005) between all conditions for stride length, cadence, double support time, swing %, and stance %. Stride length decreased across all conditions: W (85+/-3.0), WP (68+/-4.1), and RP (56+/-7.0). Cadence decreased while WP (92+/-10.1), yet increased during RP (169+/-14.9), compared to W (109+/-6.7). During WP and RP, participants demonstrated greater gait cycle percentage in stance phase [(WP, stance phase: 66+/-1.6, swing phase: 34+/-1.6) and (RP, stance phase: 57+/-2.7, swing phase: 42+/-2.7)] when compared to W (stance phase: 37+/-2.1, swing phase: 37+/-2.2). CONCLUSIONS: Longer stance phase with proportional increase in resistance could be utilized as a combined resistance and gait training tool as opposed to only gait training. Future studies should focus on neuromuscular activation of the lower extremity, specifically the muscles involved in the gait cycle stance phase, when walking or running with resistance.
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