Effects of age and walking speed on coactivation and cost of walking in healthy adults

Daniel S. Peterson, Philip E. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Our goal was to determine how age and walking speed affect metabolic cost of walking (Cw), lower, extremity antagonist coactivation, and relationships between coactivation and Cw in healthy, active, individuals. Fourteen young (25 ± 3 years) and 14 older (71 ± 4 years) participants walked on a treadmill at, four speeds (0.89, 1.12, 1.34, and 1.57 m s-1) while electromyography (EMG) and oxygen consumption, were measured. Coactivation indices were calculated for musculature about the thigh and shank. Cw, was higher in older adults across all speeds (p < 0.001). Coactivation about the thigh was also higher in, older adults (p < 0.001), whereas coactivation about the shank was not different between age groups (p = 0.60). Total coactivation (thigh coactivation plus shank coactivation) showed significant positive, relationships to Cw at all walking speeds (r = 0.46-0.57). Higher Cw and coactivation in older adults, along with the positive relationship between Cw and coactivation implies coactivation contributes to, higher Cw of older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-359
Number of pages5
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomechanics
  • Coactivation
  • Economy
  • Elderly
  • Gait

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of age and walking speed on coactivation and cost of walking in healthy adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this