Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D

Volume 45 Number 7, 2008
   Pages 1077 — 1090

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

Michael S. Orendurff, MS;1-2* Jason A. Schoen, BS;1 Greta C. Bernatz, BA;1 Ava D. Segal, MS;1 Glenn K. Klute, PhD1,3-4

1Motion Analysis Laboratory, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA; Departments of 2Rehabilitation Medicine, School of Medicine, 3Mechanical Engineering, and 4Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Abstract — Much is known about human walking, but it is not known how walking is used during typical activities. Since improving walking ability is a key goal in many surgical, pharmacological, and physiotherapeutic interventions, understanding typical community mobility demands regarding the length of walking bouts, the number of sequential steps frequently performed, and the duration of common nonwalking (rest) behavior seems prudent. This study documents the gait of daily living in 10 nondisabled employed adults to define walking bout duration, sequential step counts, and length of rest periods over a 2-week period. Subjects wore a StepWatch™ Activity Monitor (OrthoCare Innovations; Mountlake Terrace, Washington) that counted steps in each 10-second time window. Custom code summed sequential steps, periods of walking behavior (bouts), and periods without steps (rest). Sixty percent of all walking bouts lasted just 30 seconds or less; a 2-minute walking bout was just 1 percent of total walking bouts. Forty percent of all walking bouts were less than 12 steps in a row, and 75 percent of all walking bouts were less than 40 steps in a row. Rest periods were predominantly very short, with half of all rests periods lasting 20 seconds or less. The community mobility demand for nondisabled employed adults appears to involve frequent short-duration walking behavior with low numbers of sequential steps strung together and many short-duration nonwalking (rest) behaviors.

Key words: community mobility, duration, gait, mobility, nondisabled, rehabilitation, rest, SAM, steps, walking.

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