Preferred stride frequency (PSF) of adult human walking has been shown to be predictable as the resonant frequency of a force driven harmonic oscillator (FDHO). The purpose of this study was to determine whether the PSF of 9-year-old children was predictable using the same resonance formula as that of adults. Subjects walked around a gymnasium at a rate at which they felt comfortable. Stride frequency was measured as the time for 20 strides and the stride period was calculated. The best-fit prediction based on resonance was then calculated using the overall center of mass of three segments (foot, shank, thigh) to determine the simple pendulum equivalent (SPE) length. Results indicated that a constant of 2 applied to the gravitational constant of the resonance formula, the same formulation used for adults, can be used to predict the cadence of children.
The authors are with the Department of Physical Therapy, Sargent College of Applied Health Professions, Boston University, 635 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215.