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2011 | 27 | 55-65

Article title

Eccentric contraction-induced muscle injury does not change walking economy in older adults


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The aim of the study was to examine whether self-selected walking speed during downhill treadmill walking by older adults would result in muscle injury and changes in physiological responses during level walking. Twenty-six participants (age: 67 ± 4 yrs; height: 1.69 ± 0.09 m; body mass: 74.9 ± 13.1kg) were assigned to level (n = 11, 30 min, 0%) or downhill walking (n=15, 30 min, -10%) at a self-selected walking speed. Self-selected walking speed and exercise intensity were similar for both groups (level: 4.2±0.4 km·hr-1, 42±6% VO2max; downhill: 4.6±0.6 km·hr-1, 44±15% VO2max). After 48-hours, downhill walking had reduced maximal voluntary isometric force of the m. quadriceps femoris (-15%, P<0.001), indicative of muscle injury, but no changes were observed for walking economy, minute ventilation, heart rate and respiratory exchange ratio during level walking. For older adults, downhill walking at a selfselected walking speed causes muscle injury without any detrimental effect on walking economy. Regular downhill walking at a self-selected walking speed by older adults is an eccentric endurance activity that may have the potential to improve cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength.







Physical description


1 - 3 - 2011
6 - 4 - 2011


  • School of Science, Technology and Health, University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1QJ, United Kingdom
  • Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Chichester, College Lane, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 6PE, United Kingdom
  • Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Chichester, College Lane, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 6PE, United Kingdom


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