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Daniel H. Aslan, Joshua M. Collette and Justus D. Ortega

The decline of walking performance is a key determinant of morbidity among older adults. Healthy older adults have been shown to have a 15–20% lower walking economy compared with young adults. However, older adults who run for exercise have a higher walking economy compared with older adults who walk for exercise. Yet, it remains unclear if other aerobic exercises yield similar improvements on walking economy. The purpose of this study was to determine if regular bicycling exercise affects walking economy in older adults. We measured metabolic rate while 33 older adult “bicyclists” or “walkers” and 16 young adults walked on a level treadmill at four speeds between (0.75–1.75 m/s). Across the range of speeds, older bicyclists had a 9–17% greater walking economy compared with older walkers (p = .009). In conclusion, bicycling exercise mitigates the age-related deterioration of walking economy, whereas walking for exercise has a minimal effect on improving walking economy.