We examined the effects of load on the energy cost of walking (Cw), being defined as the ratio of the 2-min steady-state oxygen consumption to the speed, and economical speed (ES) during level and gradient walking. Ten men walked on a treadmill at various speeds with and without a load on their back at 0% and ±5% gradients. Significantly lower Cw values were observed only when the load was carried on the back during level walking at slower speeds. The ES was significantly decreased by less than 5% when the load was carried on the back. Significant gradient differences were also observed in the ES in the load and no load conditions. These results would be applicable to a wider range of occupational and leisure tasks.
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