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Appl Ergon. 2004 Jul;35(4):329-35.

Effects of load carriage, load position, and walking speed on energy cost of walking.

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Faculty of Integrated Cultures and Humanities, University of East Asia, 2-1 Ichinomiya Gakuen-cho, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi 751-8503, Japan.



The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of load, load position, and walking speed on the energy cost of walking per unit distance (Cw: ml/kg/m).


Eight young male subjects walked on a treadmill at various speeds with and without load in the hands, on the back, and on the legs. The Cw values were determined from the ratio of 2-min steady-state oxygen consumption (Vo2) above resting value (net Vo2) to the walking speed (v): Cw = net Vo2/v.


An energy-saving phenomenon was observed when the load was carried on the back at slower speeds. This phenomenon diminished at faster speeds, particularly when walking faster than 90 m/min. It was also observed when the load was carried in the hands at slower speeds.


These findings partly supported our hypothesis that an energy-saving phenomenon would be observed due to an interaction between rotative torque around the center of body mass and excessive burden on the lower muscles as a function of speed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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