Influence of treadmill acceleration on actual walk-to-run transition
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Gait and posture. - Oxford
, p. 52-56
University of Antwerp
When accelerating continuously, humans spontaneously change from a walking to a running pattern by means of a walk-to-run transition (WRT). Results of previous studies indicate that when higher treadmill accelerations are imposed, higher WRT-speeds can be expected. By studying the kinematics of the WRT at different accelerations, the underlying mechanisms can be unravelled. 19 young, healthy female subjects performed walk-to-run transitions on a constantly accelerating treadmill (0.1, 0.2 and 0.5 m s−2). A higher acceleration induced a higher WRT-speed, by effecting the preparation of transition, as well as the actual transition step. Increasing the acceleration caused a higher WRT-speed as a result of a greater step length during the transition step, which was mainly a consequence of a prolonged airborne phase. Besides this effect on the transition step, the direct preparation phase of transition (i.e. the last walking step before transition) appeared to fulfil specific constraints required to execute the transition regardless of the acceleration imposed. This highlights an important role for this step in the debate regarding possible determinants of WRT. In addition spatiotemporal and kinematical data confirmed that WRT remains a discontinuous change of gait pattern in all accelerations imposed. It is concluded that the walk-to-run transition is a discontinuous switch from walking to running which depends on the magnitude of treadmill belt acceleration.