We investigated the effect of stride frequency (SF) on metabolic costs and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) during walking in water and on dry land. Eleven male subjects walked on a treadmill on dry land and on an underwater treadmill at their preferred SF (PSF) and walked at an SF which was lower and higher than the PSF (i.e., PSF±5, 10, and 15stridesmin-1). Walking speed was kept constant at each subject's preferred walking speed in water and on dry land. Oxygen uptake, heart rate, RPE, PSF and preferred walking speeds were measured. Metabolic costs and RPE were significantly higher when walking at low and high SF conditions than when walking at the PSF condition both in water and on dry land (P<0.05). Additionally, the high SF condition produced significantly higher metabolic costs and RPE than the equivalent low SF condition during walking in water (P<0.01). Furthermore, metabolic costs, RPE, PSF, and the preferred walking speed were significantly lower in water than on dry land when walking at the PSF (P<0.05). These observations indicate that a change in SF influences metabolic costs and RPE during walking in water.
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