Multicomponent Fitness Training Improves Walking Economy in Older Adults

Giulio Valenti*, Alberto Giovanni Bonomi, Klaas Roelof Westerterp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

119 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Walking economy declines with increasing age, possibly leading to mobility limitation in older adults. Multicomponent fitness training could delay the decline in walking economy. Purpose: This study aimed to determine the effect of multicomponent fitness training on walking economy in older adults. Methods: Participants were untrained adults, age 50 to 83 yr (N = 26, 10 males, age = 63 +/- 6 yr, BMI = 25.6 +/- 2.1 kg.m(-2), mean +/- SD). A control group was also recruited (N = 16, 9 males, age = 66 +/- 10 yr, BMI = 25.4 +/- 3.0 kg.m(-2)), matching the intervention group for age, weight, body composition, and fitness. The intervention group followed a multicomponent fitness program of 1 h, twice per week during 1 yr. The control group did not take part in any physical training. Fat-free mass, walking economy, and maximal oxygen uptake ((V) over dotO(2max)) were measured in both groups before and after the year. Walking economy was measured with indirect calorimetry as the lowest energy needed to displace 1 kg of body mass for 1 m while walking on a treadmill. The data were compared between the two groups with repeated-measures ANOVA. Results: Thirty-two subjects completed all measurements. There was an interaction between the effects of time and group on (V) over dotO(2max) (P <0.05) and walking economy (P <0.05), whereas fat-free mass did not change significantly (P = 0.06). (V) over dotO(2max) decreased by 1.8 in the control group and increased by 1.3 in the intervention group. The lowest energy needed to walk increased by 0.12 in the control group and decreased in the intervention group by 0.13 Conclusion: Multicomponent fitness training decreases walking cost in older adults, preserving walking economy. Thus, training programs could delay mobility limitation with increasing age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1365-1370
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016




Dive into the research topics of 'Multicomponent Fitness Training Improves Walking Economy in Older Adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this