Walking energetics, fatigability, and fatigue in older adults: The study of energy and aging pilot

Catherine A. Richardson, Nancy W. Glynn, Luigi G. Ferrucci, Dawn C. Mackey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background. Slow gait speed increases morbidity and mortality in older adults. We examined how preferred gait speed is associated with energetic requirements of walking, fatigability, and fatigue. Methods. Older adults (n = 36, 70-89 years) were categorized as slow or fast walkers based on median 400-m gait speed. We measured VO2peak by graded treadmill exercise test and VO2 during 5-minute treadmill walking tests at standard (0.72 m/s) and preferred gait speeds. Fatigability was assessed with the Situational Fatigue Scale and the Borg rating of perceived exertion at the end of walking tests. Fatigue was assessed by questionnaire. Results. Preferred gait speed over 400 m (range: 0.75-1.58 m/s) averaged 1.34 m/s for fast walkers versus 1.05 m/s for slow walkers (p 2peak was 26% lower (18.5 vs 25.1ml/kg/min, p =. 001) in slow walkers than fast walkers. To walk at 0.72 m/s, slow walkers used a larger percentage of VO2peak (59% vs 42%, p

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-494
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Energetics
  • Epidemiology
  • Fatigue
  • Gait speed
  • Mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Medicine(all)


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