In this study, we investigated: i) the effects of bed rest and a subsequent physical training program on metabolic cost (Cw), mechanical work and efficiency during walking in older and young men; ii) the mechanisms underlying the higher Cw observed in older than young men. Twenty-three healthy male subjects (N = 16 older adults, age 59.6 +/- 3.4 years; N = 7 young, age: 23.1 +/- 2.9 years) participated in this study. The subjects underwent 14 days of bed rest followed by two weeks of physical training (6 sessions). Cw, mechanical work, efficiency, and co-contraction time of proximal muscles (vastus lateralis and biceps femoris) and distal muscles (gastrocnemius medialis and tibialis anterior) were measured during walking at 0.83, 1.11, 1.39, 1.67 m.s(-1) before bed rest (pre-BR), after bed rest (post-BR) and after physical training (post-PT). No effects of bed rest and physical training were observed on the analysed parameters in either group. Older men showed higher Cw and lower efficiency at each speed (average + 25.1 and -20.5%, P<0.001, respectively) compared to young. Co-contraction time of proximal and distal muscles were higher in older than in young men across the different walking speeds (average +30.0 and +110.3%, P<0.05, respectively). The lack of bed rest and physical training effects on the parameters analyzed in this study may be explained by the healthy status of both young and older men, which could have mitigated the effects of these interventions on walking motor function. On the other hand, the fact that older adults showed greater Cw, overall higher co-contraction time of antagonist lower limb muscles, and lower efficiency compared to the young cohort throughout a wide range of walking speed may suggest that older adults sacrificed economy of walking to improve stability
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.