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Effects of experimentally induced fatigue on healthy older adults' gait: A systematic review

Santos, P. C. R. D., Barbieri, F. A., Zijdewind, I., Gobbi, L. T. B., Lamoth, C. & Hortobágyi, T., 30-Dec-2019, In : PLoS ONE. 14, 12, 14 p., e0226939.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

INTRODUCTION: While fatigue is ubiquitous in old age and visibly interferes with mobility, studies have not yet examined the effects of self-reported fatigue on healthy older adults' gait. As a model that simulates this daily phenomenon, we systematically reviewed eleven studies that compared the effects of experimentally induced muscle and mental performance fatigability on gait kinematics, variability, kinetics, and muscle activity in healthy older adults.

METHODS: We searched for studies in databases (PubMed and Web of Science) using Fatigue, Gait, and Clinical conditions as the main terms and extracted the data only from studies that experimentally induced fatigue by sustained muscle or mental activities in healthy older adults.

RESULTS: Eleven studies were included. After muscle performance fatigability, six of nine studies observed increases in stride length, width, gait velocity (Effect Size [ES] range: 0.30 to 1.22), inter-stride trunk acceleration variability (ES: 2.06), and ankle muscle coactivation during gait (ES: 0.59, n = 1 study). After sustained mental activity, the coefficient of variation of stride outcomes increased (ES: 0.59 to 0.67, n = 1 study) during dual-task but not single-task walking.

CONCLUSION: Muscle performance fatigability affects spatial and temporal features of gait and, mainly, inter-stride trunk acceleration variability. In contrast, sustained mental activity tends only to affect step variability during dual tasking. A critical and immediate step for future studies is to determine the effects of self-reported fatigue on gait biomechanics and variability in healthy older adults to verify the viability of experimentally induced fatigue as a model for the study of gait adaptability in old age.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0226939
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume14
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 30-Dec-2019

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