Walk–run transition in young and older adults: with special reference to the cardio-respiratory responses

Abstract

Cardio-respiratory responses of young and older subjects performing walking and running protocols at the walk–run transition speed (WRT) were compared. A total of 26 volunteers assigned to younger (YG, 24 ± 3 years) and older (OG, 64 ± 6 years) groups underwent a protocol to determine the WRT used in 6-min walking and running protocols. Oxygen uptake (VO2), ventilation (V E), expired carbon dioxide (VCO2), heart rate (HR) and perceived exertion (RPE) were assessed. Oxygen pulse (O2 pulse) and respiratory exchange ratio (RER) were calculated. The WRT was not different between groups (OG: 6.84 ± 0.69 km h−1 vs. YG: 7.04 ± 0.77 km h−1, P = 0.62). No between-group differences were found within a given gait pattern for VO2 (P = 0.061) and VCO2 (P = 0.076). However, VO2 (P = 0.0022) and VCO2 (P = 0.0041) increased in OG when running, remaining stable in YG (VO2: P = 0.622; VCO2: P = 0.412). The VE was higher in OG compared to YG in walking (P = 0.030) and running (P = 0.004) protocols. No age-related (P = 0.180) or locomotion (P = 0.407) effects were found for RER. The HR increased in OG and between-group difference was detected while running (P = 0.003). No within- (P = 0.447) or between-group (P = 0.851) difference was found for O2 pulse. The net VO2 increased from walking to running in OG (P < 0.0001) but not in YG (P = 0.53), while RPE was lower in YG (P = 0.041) but stable in OG (P = 0.654). In conclusion, the WRT speed was similar across the age groups. However, the VO2 and VCO2 increase from walking to running was larger for OG than YG. The HR, VE and RPE were also higher when running in OG compared to YG. Therefore, the locomotion strategy had different impacts on the metabolic demand of older and younger subjects.

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Acknowledgments

This study was partially supported by the Carlos Chagas Filho Foundation for the Research Support in the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ, process E-26/150.751/2007) and by the Brazilian Council for the Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq, process 305729/2006-3 and process 307671/2009-7).

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Correspondence to P. T. V. Farinatti.

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Communicated by Susan Ward.

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Farinatti, P.T.V., Monteiro, W.D. Walk–run transition in young and older adults: with special reference to the cardio-respiratory responses. Eur J Appl Physiol 109, 379–388 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-010-1366-1

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Keywords

  • Exercise
  • Aging
  • Fatigue
  • Gait efficiency
  • Aerobic training
  • Health