Changes in real-world walking speed following 60-day bed-rest

NPJ Microgravity. 2024 Jan 13;10(1):6. doi: 10.1038/s41526-023-00342-8.


The aim of this work was to explore whether real-world walking speed (RWS) would change as a consequence of 60-day bed-rest. The main hypothesis was that daily RWS would decrease after the bed-rest, with a subsequent recovery during the first days of re-ambulation. Moreover, an exploratory analysis was done in order to understand whether there is an agreement between the loss in RWS after bed-rest and the loss in the maximum oxygen uptake capacity (VO2max), or the loss in maximal vertical jump power (JUMP) respectively. Twenty-four subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups: a continuous artificial gravity group, an intermittent artificial gravity group, or a control group. The fitted linear mixed effects model showed a significant decrease (p < 0.001) of RWS after the 60-day bed-rest and a subsequent increase (p < 0.001) of RWS during the 14-day recovery period in the study facility. No or little agreement was found between the loss in RWS and the loss in VO2max capacity or the loss in maximal vertical jumping power (RWS vs. VO2max: p = 0.81, RWS vs. JUMP: p = 0.173). Decreased RWS after bed-rest, with a follow-up recovery was observed for all three groups, regardless of the training intervention. This suggests that RWS, also in these settings, was able to reflect a de-conditioning and follow-up recovery process.