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Elderly Slowing

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  • Elderly Slowing

    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, 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 /\/ \ __ _\