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How humans walk: Bout duration, steps per bout, and rest duration

Michael S. Orendurff, MS, et al.

Figure. The StepWatch Activity Monitor (OrthoCare Innovations; MountlakeTerrace, Washington).

Patients often successfully complete gait rehabilitation during an inpatient stay only to experience substantial challenges in transferring this walking ability to  home and community mobility. Perhaps rehabilitation strategies should focus on the type of walking behavior used most often by nondisabled individuals? To define this typical walking behavior, 10 nondisabled individuals wore a small device on their ankle to count steps. The number of steps in a row, how long these walking behaviors lasted, and the length of time individuals did not walk were recorded. Based on this information, nondisabled individuals take many very short walking trips, stop often for short periods, and start walking again. Of all walking, 40 percent was less than 12 steps in a row, and then people stopped walking. Seventy-five percent was less than 40 steps in a row before they stopped walking. Perhaps gait training should include more stopping and starting and not concentrate on taking so many steps in a row. A study should be undertaken to determine if patients trained with lots of stopping and starting do better in the community than patients trained with long-duration walking behaviors.

Volume 45 Number 7, 2008
   Pages 1077 — 1090


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