ISSN: 1899-1955
Human Movement
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4/2016
vol. 17
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Effect of body composition on walking economy

Marcin Maciejczyk
,
Magdalena Wiecek
,
Jadwiga Szymura
,
Zbigniew Szygula

Online publish date: 2018/03/12
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Purpose
The aim of the study was to evaluate walking economy and physiological responses at two walking speeds in males with similar absolute body mass but different body composition.

Methods
The study involved 22 young men with similar absolute body mass, BMI, aerobic performance, calf and thigh circumference. The participants differed in body composition: body fat (HBF group) and lean body mass (HLBM group). In the graded test, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and maximal heart rate were measured. Walking economy was evaluated during two walks performed at two different speeds (4.8 and 6.0 km h–1).

Results
The VO2max was similar in both groups, as were the physiological responses during slow walking. The absolute oxygen uptake or oxygen uptake relative to body mass did not significantly differentiate the studied groups. The only indicator significantly differentiating the two groups was oxygen uptake relative to LBM.

Conclusions
Body composition does not significantly affect walking economy at low speed, while during brisk walking, the economy is better in the HLBM vs. HBF group, provided that walking economy is presented as oxygen uptake relative to LBM. For this reason, we recommend this manner of oxygen uptake normalization in the evaluation of walking economy.

keywords:

body fat, lean body mass, metabolic cost, oxygen uptake, exercise

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