This study aimed to examine whether walking in water produces age-related differences in muscle activity, stride frequency (SF), and heart rate (HR) response. Surface electromyography (EMG) was used to evaluate muscle activities in six older and six young subjects while they walked in water immersed to the level of the xiphoid process. The trials in water utilized the Flowmill which consists of a treadmill at the base of a water flume. The measurement of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) of each muscle was made prior to the gait analysis. The %MVCs, which refer to the surface EMG measures, from the gastrocnemius of the older subjects were significantly lower than those of the young subjects, in every experimental condition (P < 0.05). In contrast, the %MVCs from the rectus femoris (P < 0.05) and the biceps femoris (P < 0.001) of older subjects were significantly greater than those of young subjects in every experimental condition. Moreover, the SFs of older subjects were also significantly greater than those of young subjects (P < 0.05), while the HR responses of older and young subjects were similar. In conclusion, the older subjects had increased hip musculature activity and decreased ankle plantar flexor activity while walking in water, compared with the young subjects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Neurology