Strength, Static Balance, Physical Activity, and Age Predict Maximal Gait Speed in Healthy Older Adults From a Rural Community: A Cross-Sectional Study

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Purpose:

Gait speed is related to physical function in older adults. This cross-sectional study examined the best predictors of maximal gait speed (MGS) among physical abilities, and general factors in healthy, rural community-dwelling older adults.

Methods:

MGS, muscle strength, and postural sway were measured in 55 community-dwelling participants (age, 72.1 ± 6.8, range 61–87 years; 72.7% women). Two stepwise regressions were used to find MGS predictors in two models: physical abilities and global.

Results:

Strength of knee extensors with 60° of knee flexion (KStrength60°) and maximal distance in the anterior-posterior direction with eyes closed explained 50.2% of MGS variance (p < .05) in the physical abilities model. KStrength60°, age, and level of physical activity explained 63.9% of MGS variance (p < .05) in the global model.

Conclusions:

Regardless of the model, KStrength60° was the best predictor of MGS in rural female older adults. Future research should examine the generalization of these findings to rural male older adults.

Aranda-García is with the School of Health and Sports Science, Universitat de Girona, Girona, Spain; and the Health and Applied Sciences Department, INEFC-Barcelona, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. Busquets is with the Health and Applied Sciences Department, INEFC-Barcelona, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; and the School of Health Sciences, Tecno Campus Mataro, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Mataró, Spain. Planas is with the Health and Sports Management Department, INEFC-Lleida, Universitat de Lleida, Lleida, Spain. Prat-Subirana is with the Health and Sports Management Department, INEFC-Lleida, Universitat de Lleida, Lleida, Spain. Angulo-Barroso is with the Health and Applied Sciences Department, INEFC-Barcelona, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; and the School of Health and Human Development, California State University, Northridge, CA.

Address author correspondence to Silvia Aranda-García at silvia.aranda.garcia@gmail.com.