View Full Version : Elderly Slowing

Denise Gobert
04-19-1998, 03:09 PM
Hi BioNetters:

In reponse to the discussion on the slower walking pace of elders I would
like to add the following considerations:

1. Neural Slowing--there is a general slowing of the entire nervous system
which leads to slower reaction times to any musclar activites. This slower
reaction time may result in a "speed accuracy trade-off" where the host
will move slower to ensure proper foot placements etc.

2. Muscle Type Differential Loss-- there is a also a general overall loss
of fast twitch muscle types leaving behind a slower muscular system in
response to movements. This differential loss could be one of the major
reasons why a specific neural stimulus results in a slower response.

A nice over-view of the gait characteristics and possible reasons for the
changes can be found in the following references:

1. Bassey, E.J.et al. (1988). Muscle strength in the triceps surae and
objectively measured customary walking activity in men and women over 65
years of age. Clinical Scienc, 74, 85-89.

2. Bendall, MJ et al. (1989). Factors affecting walking speed of elderly
people. Age& Ageing, 18, 327-332.

3. Craik,R. (1990). Changes in locomotion in the aging adult. In
Development of posture and gait across the lifespan, MH Woolacott and A.
Shumway-Cook (Eds) South Carolina Press.

4. Murray, MP et al. (1969). Walking patterns in healthy old men. Journal
of Gerontology, 24, 169-178.

5. Winter, DA (1991). Changes in gait with aging. Canadian Journal of
Sports Sciences, 16 (3): 165-167)

Hope this helps you in some way. Good Luck in your efforts.


Denise Gobert,M.Ed.,PT
Doctoral Candidate
University of Texas at Austin
Dept of Kinesiology -- /\ ____
& Health Edu. (Bel.222) / \/\ ____ __o
P.O.Box 150213 /\/ \ __ _\