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Article Title

HABITUAL AND MAXIMUM GAIT SPEEDS AMONG SEDENTARY, RECREATIONALLY ACTIVE, AND MASTERS ATHLETE OLDER ADULTS

Abstract

Collin K. Cannella, Jordan M. Glenn, Michelle Gray, Jennifer L. Vincenzo, Keyona Smith; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Arkansas

Gait speed predicts survival rates in older adults with faster speeds indicating better survival. Previously, gait speed has been evaluated in geriatric populations, but comparisons of these less active populations to masters athletes (MA) are currently unclear. PURPOSE: Therefore the purpose of this study was to evaluate gait speed measures among sedentary (SED), recreationally active (RA), and MA older adults. METHODS: Groups of SED (n = 20, age = 61.0 ± 5.8), RA (n = 57, age = 63.5 ± 8.4), and MA (n = 25, age = 57.5 ± 7.9) participated in this study. SED and RA groups were established based on outcome scores on the Rapid Physical Activity Questionnaire and MA were categorized based on involvement in sanctioned, athletic competition within past 6-months. Subjects were asked to complete four different gait tasks: habitual speed (HS), fast speed (FS), dual-task habitual speed (DT-HS), and dual-task fast speed (DT-FS). Timing gates were used to record gait speed (s) over a 10-meter distance. Participants started 5-meters before the start gate and ended 5-meters after the stop gate. During the DT-HS and DT-FS, subjects were asked to count down backwards from a given number by three’s until reaching the finish line. Two trials were recorded for each task and average speed was calculated. RESULTS: MA (2.08 ± 0.63 m/s) had significantly (p < .05) higher FS compared to SED (1.94 ± 0.30 m/s) or RA (1.99 ± 0.53 m/s). Similar differences were observed for DT-FS (SED = 1.77 ± 0.32 m/s, RA = 1.80 ± 0.51 m/s, MA = 1.89 ± 0.63 m/s). MA also had significantly smaller changes between FS and DT-FS speeds compared to SED (12%) and RA (13%). No significant differences were noticed for HS or DT-HS among groups. CONCLUSION: MA are able to reach higher maximal gait speeds compared to SED or RA older adults which is important as the ability to increase and maintain gait speed have been suggested to predict mortality rates. Interestingly, MA better maintained maximal gait speed when presented with a dual-task component, indicating MA may more efficiently maintain cognitive patterns with age.

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