Walking speed influences on gait cycle variability

Gait Posture. 2007 Jun;26(1):128-34. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2006.08.010. Epub 2006 Sep 18.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of walking speed on the amount and structure of the stride-to-stride fluctuations of the gait cycle. Based on previous findings for both walking [Hausdorff JM, Purdon PL, Peng CK, Ladin Z, Wei JY, Goldberger AL. Fractal dynamics of human gait: stability of long-range correlations in stride interval fluctuations. J Appl Physiol 1996;80:1448-57], and running [Jordan K, Challis JH, Newell KM. Long range correlations in the stride interval of running. Gait Posture 2006;24:120-5] it was hypothesized that the fractal nature of human locomotion is a reflection of the attractor dynamics of human locomotion. Female participants walked for 12min trials at 80%, 90%, 100%, 110% and 120% of their preferred walking speed. Eight gait cycle variables were investigated: stride interval and length, step interval and length, and from the vertical ground reaction force profile the impulse, first and second peak forces, and the trough force. Detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) revealed the presence of long range correlations in all gait cycle variables investigated. Speed related U-shaped functions occurred in five of the eight variables, with the minima of these curves falling between 100% and 110% of the preferred walking speed. These findings are consistent with those previously shown in running studies and support the hypothesis that reduced strength of long range correlations at preferred locomotion speeds is reflective of enhanced stability and adaptability at these speeds.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Running / physiology
  • Walking / physiology*