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Jeff A. Nessler, Gerald Kephart, Jason Cowell and Charles J. De Leone

Studying spontaneous synchronization of stepping as two individuals walk on side-by-side treadmills may be useful for understanding the control of bipedal locomotion and may have implications for gait rehabilitation. Existing data suggest that this behavior is related to differences in leg length, walkway slope, and overground speed between partners, and might be promoted by altering these variables. This idea was evaluated here as 24 pairs of subjects stepped on side-by-side treadmills under several conditions of relative speed and slope. Overall, pairings that demonstrated very little spontaneous synchronization with the same treadmill speed and slope exhibited significant increases in this behavior when one treadmill was manipulated. Conversely, pairings that demonstrated a tendency to synchronize under normal conditions exhibited significant decreases in this behavior when either treadmill was altered.

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Saryn R. Goldberg, Thomas M. Kepple and Steven J. Stanhope

We increased the accuracy of an instrumented treadmill’s measurement of center of pressure and force data by calibrating in situ and optimizing the transformation between the motion capture and treadmill force plate coordinate systems. We calibrated the device in situ by applying known vertical and shear loads at known locations across the tread surface and calculating a 6 × 6 calibration matrix for the 6 output forces and moments. To optimize the transformation, we first estimated the transformation based on a locating jig and then measured center-of-pressure error across the treadmill force plate using the CalTester tool. We input these data into an optimization scheme to find the transformation between the motion capture and treadmill force plate coordinate systems that minimized the error in the center-of-pressure measurements derived from force plate and motion capture sources. When the calibration and transformation optimizations were made, the average measured error in the center of pressure was reduced to approximately 1 mm when the treadmill was stationary and to less than 3 mm when moving. Using bilateral gait data, we show the importance of calibrating these devices in situ and performing transformation optimizations.

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Scott C. White, Louise A. Gilchrist and Kathryn A. Christina

Prescribing an appropriate adaptation period is an important consideration when using treadmills for locomotion studies. The present study investigated within-trial accommodation to running on a force measuring treadmill. Force measures were derived from vertical reaction force records of 16 runners; 8 were experienced in running on a treadmill. Three dependent measures, the peak impact force (F1), the loading rate of the impact force (LR), and the peak active force (F2) were tested for significant differences (p < 0.05) every 2 minutes of a continuous 20-min run using a two-factor ANOVA (group × time) with one repeated measure (time). Coefficients of variation (CV) for each dependent measure were tested for statistical significance in the same way. There were no significant differences in F1, LR, or F2 over any samples for the 20-min running trials. There were no significant changes in CV values for the duration of the run. The results from the present study suggest that after 30 seconds of treadmill running, there were no significant within-day accommodation effects on vertical force measures over a 20-min treadmill run. Variability between individuals in the consistency of force measures, however, could be a confounding factor. This lack of consistent response for individuals should be considered when exposing participants to experimental designs involving treadmill locomotion.

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Rebecca E. Fellin, Kurt Manal and Irene S. Davis

Researchers conduct gait analyses utilizing both overground and treadmill modes of running. Previous studies comparing these modes analyzed discrete variables. Recently, techniques involving quantitative pattern analysis have assessed kinematic curve similarity in gait. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare hip, knee and rearfoot 3-D kinematics between overground and treadmill running using quantitative kinematic curve analysis. Twenty runners ran at 3.35 m/s ± 5% during treadmill and overground conditions while right lower extremity kinematics were recorded. Kinematics of the hip, knee and rearfoot at footstrike and peak were compared using intraclass correlation coefficients. Kinematic curves during stance phase were compared using the trend symmetry method within each subject. The overall average trend symmetry was high, 0.94 (1.0 is perfect symmetry) between running modes. The transverse plane and knee frontal plane exhibited lower similarity (0.86–0.90). Other than a 4.5 degree reduction in rearfoot dorsiflexion at footstrike during treadmill running, all differences were ≤1.5 degrees. 17/18 discrete variables exhibited modest correlations (>0.6) and 8/18 exhibited strong correlations (>0.8). In conclusion, overground and treadmill running kinematic curves were generally similar when averaged across subjects. Although some subjects exhibited differences in transverse plane curves, overall, treadmill running was representative of overground running for most subjects.

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Isabel S. Moore and Sharon J. Dixon

Interest in barefoot running and research on barefoot running are growing. However a methodological issue surrounding investigations is how familiar the participants are with running barefoot. The aim of the study was to assess the amount of time required for habitually shod runners to become familiar with barefoot treadmill running. Twelve female recreational runners, who were experienced treadmill users, ran barefoot on a treadmill for three bouts, each bout consisting of 10 minutes at a self-selected speed with 5 minute rest periods. Sagittal plane kinematics of the hip, knee, ankle, and foot during stance were recorded during the first and last minute of each 10-minute bout. Strong reliability (ICC > .8) was shown in most variables after 20 minutes of running. In addition, there was a general trend for the smallest standard error of mean to occur during the same period. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in any of the biomechanical variables after 20 minutes of running. Together, this suggests that familiarization was achieved between 11 and 20 minutes of running barefoot on a treadmill. Familiarization was characterized by less plantar flexion and greater knee flexion at touchdown. These results indicate that adequate familiarization should be given in future studies before gait assessment of barefoot treadmill running.

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Alon Eliakim, Mark Y. Moromisato, David Y. Moromisato and Dan M. Cooper

In this study, the hypothesis that improvements in functional and structural measures could be detected in the young, female rat with only 5 days of moderate treadmill training was tested. Eight-week-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided randomly into control (n = 10) and training groups (n = 11). Over the 5-day period, running duration and treadmill speed increased progressively. Maximal running time and gas exchange were measured on Day 6. In trained compared with control rats, maximal running time was 54% greater (p < .005), right hindlimb muscle was 16% heavier (p < .01), and end-exercise respiratory exchange ratio (RER) was 17% lower (p < .05). Substantial metabolic and structural adaptations occurred in young female rats after only 5 days of treadmill training. This protocol may be useful in discovering the initiating mechanisms of the training response in the young organism.

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Jennifer White, Joanna Scurr and Wendy Hedger

Comparisons of breast support requirements during overground and treadmill running have yet to be explored. The purpose of this study was to investigate 3D breast displacement and breast comfort during overground and treadmill running. Six female D cup participants had retro-reflective markers placed on the nipples, anterior superior iliac spines and clavicles. Five ProReflex infrared cameras (100 Hz) measured 3D marker displacement in four breast support conditions. For overground running, participants completed 5 running trials (3.1 m/s ± 0.1 m/s) over a 10 m indoor runway; for treadmill running, speed was steadily increased to 3.1 m/s and 5 gait cycles were analyzed. Subjective feedback on breast discomfort was collected using a visual analog scale. Running modality had no significant effect on breast displacement (p > .05). Moderate correlations (r = .45 to .68, p < .05) were found between breast discomfort and displacement. Stride length (m) and frequency (Hz) did not differ (p < .05) between breast support conditions or running modalities. Findings suggest that breast motion studies that examine treadmill running are applicable to overground running.

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Alan J. Ryan, Amy E. Navarre and Carl V. Gisolfi

These studies were done to determine the effect of carbonation and carbohydrate content on either gastric emptying or ad libitum drinking during treadmill exercise in the heat. Four test drinks were used: a 6% carbohydrate, noncarbonated; a 6% carbohydrate, carbonated; a 10% carbohydrate, noncarbonated; and a 10% carbohydrate, carbonated drink. For gastric emptying studies, subjects completed four 1-hr treadmill runs in the heat. They were given 400 mL of test drink at 0 rnin and 200 mL at 15, 30, and 45 min of exercise. For ad libitum drinking studies, subjects completed four 2-hr treadmill runs in the heat. Gastric residual volumes were similar during the four 1-hr runs. During the 2-hr runs, ad libitum drinking of the four beverages was also similar. Mean values for sweat rate, percentage of body weight lost, and percentage of fluid replaced by ad libitum drinking were similar for the four trials. Similar changes in heart rate, rectal temperature, and ratings of perceived exertion were also observed during the four 2-hr treadmill runs. We conclude that the presence of carbonation in a carbohydrate drink did not have a significant effect on either gastric emptying or ad libitum drinking.

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Glen E. Duncan, Anthony D. Mahon, Julie A. Gay and Jennifer J. Sherwood

Physiological and perceptual responses at ventilatory threshold (VT) and V̇O2 peak were examined in 10 male children (10.2 ± 1.3 yrs) during graded treadmill and cycle exercise. Treadmill V̇O2peak (57.9 ± 6.7 ml · kg−1 · min−1) was higher (p < .05) than the cycle (51.7 ± 7.7 ml · kg−1 · min−1). Ventilation and heart rate (HR) were higher (p < .05) on the treadmill, while respiratory exchange ratio (RER), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), capillary blood lactate, and test duration were similar between tests. The V̇O2 at VT was higher (p < .05) on the treadmill (36.7 ± 4.6 ml · kg−1 · min−1) than the cycle (32.5 ± 4.4 ml · kg−1 · min−1). When VT was expressed as a percentage of V̇O2 peak, there was no difference (p > .05) between tests. The RPE at VT, HR at VT, and VT expressed as a percentage of HRpeak were also similar (p > .05) between tests. Similar to V̇O2 peak, the V̇O2 at VT is dependent on the mode of exercise. However, when VT is expressed as a percentage of V̇O2 peak, it is independent of testing modality. The RPE at VT appears to be linked to a percentage of V̇O2 peak rather than an absolute V̇O2.

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Gail Frost, Oded Bar-Or, James Dowling and Catherine White

This study examined habituation to treadmill walking or running in children. Twenty-four boys and girls, ages 7–11, completed six 6-min trials of treadmill exercise at one of these speeds: (a) comfortable walking pace (CWP), (b) CWP + 15%, (c) running at CWP + 3 km·hr−1, or (d) running as above + 15%. The six trials were repeated in a second visit. The a priori criterion for habituation was a decrease in steady state values of oxygen uptake (V̇O2), heart rate (HR), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and stride rate (SR) or an increase in stride length (SL) and hip joint vertical amplitude (HA) from one trial to the next. There was no consistent pattern indicating habituation for the group. Many trials and more than one day of testing do not appear to improve the stability of the metabolic or kinematic variables. The lack of consistency in individual responses suggests that monitoring subjects’ habituation individually is important.