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Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 1995 Jan;10(1):41-49.

Correlation between physical activity and the gait characteristics and ankle joint flexibility of the elderly.

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1
Human Performance Laboratory, The University of Calgary, Canada.

Abstract

The correlation between the type, duration and intensity of physical activity on the gait characteristics and the range of active ankle joint motion of the elderly were investigated in this study. Three-dimensional (3D) kinetic and kinematic assessments were performed on the normal walking patterns of 59 healthy elderly male and female subjects (aged 60-79 years). Gait analysis was performed using a high-speed video-based (3D) motion analysis system with synchronized ground-reaction force measurements. The maximal active range of motion (RoM) of the ankle joint complex of each subject was determined using an external six-degree-of-freedom flexibility assessment device. Physical activity levels were classified based on energy expenditure requirements. In general the results suggest that habitual level of physical activity did not have a significant effect on the kinetic or kinematic variables during walking, or the maximal ankle joint range of motion. Differences in ankle joint RoM and gait variables were found based on gender. No distinct benefit with respect to ankle joint range of motion or gait characteristics was provided with participation in higher-energy intensive physical activities in comparison to physical activities requiring low to moderate energy expenditures. It is speculated that the benefits of physical activity may be more pronounced in activities which demand rapid muscular strength and control movements such as recovering from a fall or obstacle avoidance.

RELEVANCE:

Participation in low-energy intensity activities provides the same benefits to ankle joint flexibility and locomotion, without the added risk of injury associated with high-energy intensity sports. This finding has important implications with respect to physical activity programmes for the elderly with an objective to maintain or improve independent mobility.

PMID:
11415530

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