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Metabolic and Biomechanical Effects of Velocity and Weight Support Using a Lower-Body Positive Pressure Device During Walking

      Abstract

      Grabowski AM. Metabolic and biomechanical effects of velocity and weight support using a lower-body positive pressure device during walking.

      Objectives

      To determine how changes in velocity and weight support affect metabolic power and ground reaction forces (GRFs) during walking using a lower-body positive pressure (LBPP) device. To find specific velocity and weight combinations that require similar aerobic demands but different peak GRFs.

      Design

      Repeated measures.

      Setting

      University research laboratory.

      Participants

      Healthy volunteer subjects (N=10).

      Interventions

      Subjects walked 1.00, 1.25, and 1.50m/s on a force-measuring treadmill at normal weight (1.0 body weight [BW]) and at several fractions of BW (.25, .50, .75, .85 BW). The treadmill was enclosed within an LBPP apparatus that supported BW.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Metabolic power, GRFs, and stride kinematics.

      Results

      At faster velocities, peak GRFs and metabolic demands were greater. In contrast, walking at lower fractions of BW attenuated peak GRFs and reduced metabolic demand compared with normal weight walking. Many combinations of velocity and BW resulted in similar aerobic demands, yet walking faster with weight support lowered peak GRFs compared with normal weight walking.

      Conclusions

      Manipulating velocity and weight using an LBPP device during treadmill walking can reduce force yet maintain cardiorespiratory demand. Thus, LBPP treadmill training devices could be highly effective for rehabilitation after orthopedic injury and/or orthopedic procedures.

      Key Words

      List of Abbreviations:

      BW (body weight), GRF (ground reaction force), LBPP (lower-body positive pressure), NMP (net metabolic power)
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