Changes in Gait over a 30-min Walking Session in Obese Females

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This study assessed the biomechanical gait changes in obese and normal-weight female adult subjects after a commonly recommended 30-min walking session. Hip and knee adduction and extensor moments, which are the primary modulators of frontal and sagittal plane load distribution, were hypothesized to increase in obese females after a 30-min walking period, resulting in more stress across the hip and knee joint.


Ten obese (37.7 ± 4.8 yr of age, body mass index [BMI] = 36.1 ± 4.2 kg·m−2) and 10 normal-weight control female subjects (38.1 ± 4.5 yr of age, BMI = 22.6 ± 2.3 kg·m−2) walked 30 min continuously on the treadmill at their self-selected speed. V˙O2max was estimated using Ebbeling protocol. A three-dimensional pre- and posttreadmill gait analysis was conducted using infrared markers and force plates to calculate hip and knee moments.


Knee extensor moments increased in both obese, pretreadmill (0.54 ± 0.28 N·m·kg−1) to posttreadmill (0.78 ± 0.43 N·m·kg−1) (P = 0.01), and control subjects, pretreadmill (0.57 ± 0.34 N·m·kg−1) to posttreadmill (0.80 ± 0.49 N·m·kg−1) (P = 0.02). Hip extensor moments decreased for both obese and control subjects. Knee adduction moments did not change in either obese or control subjects. Knee extensor and adductor moments showed good to moderate relationships with V˙O2max, but not BMI or waist circumference.


Obese and normal-weight subjects experienced an increase in knee extensor moments after 30 min of walking similarly; therefore, clinicians do not need special consideration for obese individuals when recommending 30-min walking sessions. Fitness may be the important factor in judging the implications of exercise on joint mechanics and parameters of a walking program.

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