This study aimed to determine if temporal-spatial gait characteristics are associated with free-living ambulatory physical activity in relatively-healthy older people. A total of 630 women and 593 men had valid data from gait tests and activity monitoring. Gait speed alone was associated with daily step count. Gait speed along with cadence, walk ratio, step length, step time, and swing time were associated with measures of higher intensity activity and overall activity. Those who walked slower were less active. After controlling for gait speed, shorter step length, shorter step time, shorter swing time, and higher cadence were associated with less activity. This finding may be an indication of the functional consequences of a breakdown in the stride length–cadence relationship and/or compensations to increase stability. Asymmetry measures at preferred and fast walking speeds showed no association with physical activity levels. Gait speed was the only predictor of change in activity over the subsequent 12 months.
Egerton and Helbostad are with Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. Paterson is with the Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine Dentistry & Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. Helbostad is also with the Department of Clinical Services, St. Olav University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway.