Research:The energy of Walking

EpubMotl et al. Energy Cost of Walking and Its Association With Gait Parameters, Daily Activity, and Fatigue in Persons With Mild Multiple Sclerosis. Neurorehabil Neural Repair.2012 Mar 30.

BACKGROUND: Energy cost of walking (C(w)) is elevated in MSers, perhaps because of gait impairment, and may impact daily activity and fatigue.

OBJECTIVE: The authors examined for associations between C(w), spatiotemporal gait parameters, daily activity, and perceived fatigue in persons with mild MS.

METHODS: 44 participants completed 4 trials of walking on a GAITRite mat (measures how you walk and detect your foot steps) and one 6-minute trial of walking on a treadmill at a constant, controlled speed of 54 meters per min, while exhaled gases were analyzed for oxygen consumption. Participants also completed the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) and wore a waist-mounted accelerometer for 7 days.

RESULTS: C(w) was significantly and inversely associated with gait speed (r = -.25) and stride length (r = -.32) and positively associated with double limb support (r = .27). C(w) was significantly and inversely associated with daily accelerometer activity counts (r = -.35) and positively associated with FSS scores (ρ = .31).

CONCLUSION: The results support the development and application of rehabilitation strategies to address impaired gait parameters as an approach to improve C(w), daily activities, and fatigue.

"This study indicates that there were higher costs of energy in walking if you swing your legs less and have a smaller stride and is less if there is limb support and you are less fatigued. The r value (-1 or 1 is strong and 0 is nothing) is quite weak indicating that the correlations were not that strong. Does your physiotherapist assess your gait using a device such as GAITRite? They are not widely available in the UK."