A pilot study of partial unweighted treadmill training in mobility-impaired older adults

Biomed Res Int. 2014:2014:321048. doi: 10.1155/2014/321048. Epub 2014 Feb 19.


Background: Partial unweighted treadmill training is a potentially effective modality for improving fitness and function in frail elders. We tested the feasibility of partial unweighted treadmill training in older, mobility-impaired veterans.

Methods: Eight mobility-impaired elders participated in partial unweighted treadmill training three times/week for twelve weeks. Outcome measures included gait speed, performance-oriented mobility assessment (POMA), eight foot up and go, and the SF-36 physical functioning short form.

Results: There was significant improvement in treadmill walking time (+8.5 minutes; P < 0.001), treadmill walking speed (+0.14 meters/second; P = 0.02), and percent of body weight support (-2.2%; P = 0.02). Changes in physical performance included usual gait speed (+0.12 meters/second; P = 0.001), rapid gait speed (+0.13 meters/second; P = 0.01), POMA (+2.4 summary score; P < 0.001), and eight foot up and go (-1.2 seconds; P = 0.05).

Conclusions: Partial unweighted treadmill training is feasible in mobility-impaired elders. Improvements in treadmill training capacity resulted in clinically meaningful improvements in fitness levels and improved mobility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Pilot Projects
  • Walking*