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Title: The effects of age on gait and functional movement characteristics in an older adult population
Author: Duffy, Kim R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 4471
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2018
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The maintenance of function in an ageing population is essential to ensure current and future health in older people. The ability to walk independently in a range of situations and environments is key to successful ageing. Age-related gait adaptations including spatial-temporal parameters, joint kinematics and kinetics have been identified to be a consequence of the ageing process. For example, reduced walking speed and increased pelvic tilt are suggestive of compensation strategies to minimise falls. The majority of research has compared young adults (20-40 yrs) to older adults (≥ 50 yrs), categorising older adults into a single group regardless of actual age. An alternative approach is to explore the effects of age on gait and functional movement characteristics within an older adult population. One-hundred and fifty-eight community-dwelling older adults, age range 55 to 86 years (65.7 ± 6.8 yrs) were recruited to create a new gait database. Three-dimensional motion analysis captured five walking tasks: normal walking (with and without force plate contact), manual dual task walking and walking with obstacle clearance (stepping onto, off and over an obstacle). Age-related adaptations to walking occurred from age 75 years by adopting a joint kinetic strategy (including reduced hip extension moment) and altering gait (including a reduced walking speed). Increasing the task complexity was associated with altered gait patterns for this older adult group including a reduction in toe-clearance during manual dual task walking (increasing the likelihood of tripping) and increased arm swing during obstacle clearance (potentially increasing stability). This work represents the creation of one of the largest databases of gait in older people including three-dimensional motion analysis for normal walking and three functional walking tasks for healthy high-functioning older adults. It has the potential to be used to identify factors that predispose older adults to falling or with previously unidentified pathological changes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Q Science (General) ; QM Human anatomy ; QP Physiology