Title: Mechanical and metabolic work during locomotion in young children
Authors: Hallemans, Ann
Van De Walle, Patricia
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Host Document: Physical Activity and Children: New Research edition:1st pages:137-153
Article number: 6
Abstract: Gage (1991) defined energy conservation as one of the five major determinants of
normal gait. The mechanical cost of walking is dependent on the amount of positive work
that must be performed by the muscles to move the whole body, to accelerate body
segments and to overcome energy absorption at other joints and because of antagonistic
co-contractions. Positive mechanical work production requires muscular (metabolic)
work. Adults prefer walking at the speed when the energetic cost is minimal (Winter,
1990). The energetics of walking is quite different in young children as the kinematics,
kinetics and muscle activation patterns during gait are still maturing (Cavagna et al.,
1983; Hallemans et al., 2004; Ivanenko et al., 2004; Schepens et al., 2004). Also changes
in size and morphology during childhood affect the mechanical en metabolic costs of
locomotion (De Jaeger et al., 2001). Mechanical work necessary to lift the body against
gravity is large at the onset of independent walking, since the energy saving inverted
pendulum mechanism is not yet fully mastered (Hallemans et al., 2004; Ivanenko et al.,
2004). Also the work necessary to move the limbs relative to the centre of mass is greater
in children than in adults (Cavagna et al., 1983; Hallemans et al., 2004; Schepens et al.,
2004). Furthermore, standing energy expenditure rate is large in 3 to 4 year old children and decreases with age (De Jaeger et al., 2001). The age related decrease in metabolic
energy expenditure is larger than the observed decrease in normalised mechanical work.
This suggests that young children have a lower muscular efficiency of (positive) work
production than adults (Schepens et al., 2004). Differences in mechanical work,
metabolic energy cost and muscular efficiency between children and adults disappear by
the age of 10 (Cavagna et al., 1983; De Jaeger et al., 2001; Schepens et al., 2004).
ISBN: 978-1-60456-306-1
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IHb
Appears in Collections:Research Group for Neuromotor Rehabilitation

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