Linear and Nonlinear Gait Features in Older Adults Walking on Inclined Surfaces at Different Speeds

Marcus Vieira, Fabio Rodrigues, Gustavo Souza, R.M. Magnani, Georgia Lehnen, Adriano Andrade

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study evaluated linear and nonlinear gait features in healthy older adults walking on inclined surfaces at different speeds. Thirty-seven active older adults (experimental group) and fifty young adults (control group) walked on a treadmill at 100% and ±20% of their preferred walking speed for 4 min under horizontal (0%), upward (UP) (+8%), and downward (DOWN) (-8%) conditions. Linear gait variability was assessed using the average standard deviation of trunk acceleration between strides (VAR). Gait stability was assessed using the margin of stability (MoS). Nonlinear gait features were assessed by using the maximum Lyapunov exponent, as a measure of local dynamic stability (LDS), and sample entropy (SEn), as a measure of regularity. VAR increased for all conditions, but the interaction effects between treadmill inclination and age, and speed and age were higher for young adults. DOWN conditions showed the lowest stability in the medial-lateral MoS, but not in LDS. LDS was smaller in UP conditions. However, there were no effects of age for either MoS or LDS. The values of SEn decreased almost linearly from the DOWN to the UP conditions, with significant interaction effects of age for anterior-posterior SEn. The overall results supported the hypothesis that inclined surfaces modulate nonlinear gait features and alter linear gait variability, particularly in UP conditions, but there were no significant effects of age for active older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1560-1571
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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