We examined the effects of load carriage position on the energy cost of walking defined as the ratio of the 2-min steady-state oxygen consumption to the speed and economical speed. Fourteen healthy men walked on a treadmill at various speeds without and with load on the lower and upper back, which corresponded to 15% of their body mass. The energy cost of walking significantly decreased during walking with load than without load at slower speeds. A significant decrease in the energy cost of walking was also observed while carrying the load on the upper back than on the lower back at 60-80 m/min. The economical speed significantly decreased when carrying the load on the upper and lower back, and it was significantly correlated with body height. These findings suggest that an optimal carrying method is evident to reduce physical stress during walking with loads.
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