30 min of treadmill walking at self-selected speed does not increase gait variability in independent elderly

Emmanuel S. Da Rocha, Marcos R. Kunzler, Maarten F. Bobbert, Jacques Duysens, Felipe P. Carpes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Walking is one of the preferred exercises among elderly, but could a prolonged walking increase gait variability, a risk factor for a fall in the elderly? Here we determine whether 30 min of treadmill walking increases coefficient of variation of gait in elderly. Because gait responses to exercise depend on fitness level, we included 15 sedentary and 15 active elderly. Sedentary participants preferred a lower gait speed and made smaller steps than the actives. Step length coefficient of variation decreased ~16.9% by the end of the exercise in both the groups. Stride length coefficient of variation decreased ~9% after 10 minutes of walking, and sedentary elderly showed a slightly larger step width coefficient of variation (~2%) at 10 min than active elderly. Active elderly showed higher walk ratio (step length/cadence) than sedentary in all times of walking, but the times did not differ in both the groups. In conclusion, treadmill gait kinematics differ between sedentary and active elderly, but changes over time are similar in sedentary and active elderly. As a practical implication, 30 min of walking might be a good strategy of exercise for elderly, independently of the fitness level, because it did not increase variability in step and stride kinematics, which is considered a risk of fall in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1311
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number11
Early online date4 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • fall risk
  • fatigue
  • gait asymmetry
  • Treadmill walking
  • walking exercise


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