Gait Features in Different Environments Contributing to Participation in Outdoor Activities in Old Age (GaitAge): Protocol for an Observational Cross-Sectional Study

Rantakokko, Merja, Matikainen-Tervola, Emmi, Aartolahti, Eeva, Sihvonen, Sanna, Chichaeva, Julija, Finni, Taija and Cronin, Neil ORCID: 0000-0002-5332-1188 (2024) Gait Features in Different Environments Contributing to Participation in Outdoor Activities in Old Age (GaitAge): Protocol for an Observational Cross-Sectional Study. JMIR Research Protocols, 13. e52898. doi:10.2196/52898

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Background: The ability to walk is a key issue for independent old age. Optimizing older peoples’ opportunities for an autonomous and active life and reducing health disparities requires a better understanding of how to support independent mobility in older people. With increasing age, changes in gait parameters such as step length and cadence are common and have been shown to increase the risk of mobility decline. However, gait assessments are typically based on laboratory measures, even though walking in a laboratory environment may be significantly different from walking in outdoor environments. Objective: This project will study alterations in biomechanical features of gait by comparing walking on a treadmill in a laboratory, level outdoor, and hilly outdoor environments. In addition, we will study the possible contribution of changes in gait between these environments to outdoor mobility among older people. Methods: Participants of the study were recruited through senior organizations of Central Finland and the University of the Third Age, Jyväskylä. Inclusion criteria were community-dwelling, aged 70 years and older, able to walk at least 1 km without assistive devices, able to communicate, and living in central Finland. Exclusion criteria were the use of mobility devices, severe sensory deficit (vision and hearing), memory impairment (Mini-Mental State Examination ≤23), and neurological conditions (eg, stroke, Parkinson disease, and multiple sclerosis). The study protocol included 2 research visits. First, indoor measurements were conducted, including interviews (participation, health, and demographics), physical performance tests (short physical performance battery and Timed Up and Go), and motion analysis on a treadmill in the laboratory (3D Vicon and next-generation inertial measurement units [NGIMUs]). Second, outdoor walking tests were conducted, including walking on level (sports track) and hilly (uphill and downhill) terrain, while movement was monitored via NGIMUs, pressure insoles, heart rate, and video data. Results: A total of 40 people (n=26, 65% women; mean age 76.3, SD 5.45 years) met the inclusion criteria and took part in the study. Data collection took place between May and September 2022. The first result is expected to be published in the spring of 2024. Conclusions: This multidisciplinary study will provide new scientific knowledge about how gait biomechanics are altered in varied environments, and how this influences opportunities to participate in outdoor activities for older people.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Walking; Aging; Environment; Biomechanics; Kinematics; Spatiotemporal; Gait; GaitAge; Observational cross-sectional study; Gerontology; Geriatric; Geriatrics; Older adult; Older adults; Elder; Elderly; Older person; Older people; Ageing; Aging; Health disparities; Health disparity; Assessment; Assessments; Physical test; Physical tests; Interview; Interviews; Biomechanic; Activities; Outdoor; Activity; Movement analysis; Analysis of walk; Posture; Free living
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV191.2 Outdoor Life. Outdoor recreation.
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology > RM695 Physical medicine. physical therapy including massage, exercise, occupational therapy, hydrotherapy, phototherapy, radiotherapy, thermotherapy, electrotherapy
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Charlotte Crutchlow
Date Deposited: 08 May 2024 13:53
Last Modified: 09 May 2024 09:00

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