Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 318204, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/318204
Research Article

Effects of Lower Limb Length and Body Proportions on the Energy Cost of Overground Walking in Older Persons

1UO Riabilitazione Cardiaca, Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Via di Scandicci snc, 50143 Florence, Italy
2Istituto di BioRobotica, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera, Pisa, Italy

Received 21 March 2014; Revised 30 May 2014; Accepted 3 June 2014; Published 17 June 2014

Academic Editor: Graziano Onder

Copyright © 2014 Federica Vannetti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. Although walking has been extensively investigated in its biomechanical and physiological aspects, little is known on whether lower limb length and body proportions affect the energy cost of overground walking in older persons. Methods. We enrolled 50 men and 12 women aged 65 years and over, mean 69.1 ± SD 5.4, who at the end of their cardiac rehabilitation program performed the six-minute walk test while wearing a portable device for direct calorimetry and who walked a distance comparable to that of nondisabled community-dwelling older persons. Results. In the multivariable regression model (F = 12.75, , adjusted ) the energy cost of overground walking, expressed as the net energy expenditure, in kg−1 sec−1, needed to provide own body mass with 1 joule kinetic energy, was inversely related to lower limb length and directly related to lower limb length to height ratio ( = , , and , , resp.). Ancillary analyses also showed that, altogether, 1 cm increase in lower limb length reduced the energy cost of overground walking by 2.57% (95%CI 2.35–2.79). Conclusions. Lower limb length and body proportions actually affect the energy cost of overground walking in older persons.