Adaptational phenomena and mechanical responses during running: effect of surface, aging and task experience

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The goals of the study were to identify adaptational phenomena in running mechanics over a variety of surfaces due to age related changes in the muscle-tendon units (MTUs) capacities, to examine whether running experience is associated with adaptational effects on running mechanics over a variety of surfaces even at old age, and to investigate whether surface condition affects running mechanics. The investigation was executed on 30 old and 19 young including 29 runners and 20 non-active subjects. In a previous study we documented that the older had lower MTUs capacities. In the present study running mechanics were analysed as the same subjects ran at 2.7 m/s over three surfaces having different compliance. Surface condition did not affect centre of mass trajectory, duty factor or joint kinetics (P > 0.01). Older react to the reduced MTUs capacity by increasing duty factor and benefiting from a mechanical advantage for the triceps surae MTU and a lower rate of force generation on all surfaces (P < 0.01). Runners displayed lower average horizontal forces and a higher mechanical advantage for the quadriceps femoris MTU for all surfaces (P < 0.01). The results provided strong evidence on that running strategy remained essentially unchanged over a variety of surfaces. Adaptive improvements in running mechanics due to task experience were present for all surfaces and did not depend on age. We further concluded that older adults were able to recalibrate their running strategy to adjust the task effort to the reduced MTUs capacities in a feedforward control manner for a variety of mechanical environments.

ZeitschriftEuropean journal of applied physiology
Seiten (von - bis)284-298
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 01.10.2006

ID: 20349


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