The purpose of this study was to determine the heart-rate response to nonweight-bearing ambulation with a walker in a group of active, healthy 60- to 80-year-old women. The subjects walked for three minutes over a smooth-surfaced tile track using a three-point nonweight-bearing gait at a self-paced rate. Heart rate was monitored by biotelemetry at rest, during the last minute of exercise, and for the first five minutes of recovery. The mean velocity of ambulation with a walker selected by this group was 12 ± 5 m/min. Mean heart rate increased 49 ± 14 bpm during the third minute of activity over the mean resting rate of 77 ± 8 bpm. Group heart rates rose to an average of 83 percent of their age-predicted maximum heart rate. All subjects achieved steady-state heart rate during the third minute of walking. This study suggests that an excessive amount of cardiac work may be demanded of the elderly individual during walker use. This stress on the heart is a major source of concern to the physical therapist whose goal is to provide a safe and effective therapeutic program for the geriatric patient.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation