Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2018) 17, 1 - 6

Research article
Exploring the Metabolic and Perceptual Correlates of Self-Selected Walking Speed under Constrained and Un-Constrained Conditions
David T Godsiff1, Shelly Coe1, , Charlotte Elsworth-Edelsten2, Johnny Collett1, Ken Howells1, Martyn Morris1, Helen Dawes1
Author Information
1 Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford, UK
2 Sport and Exercise Science, School of Human & Life Sciences, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Kent, UK

Shelly Coe
✉ Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford, OX30BP, UK
Publish Date
Received: 10-07-2017
Accepted: 14-11-2017
Published (online): 01-03-2018
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Mechanisms underpinning self-selected walking speed (SSWS) are poorly understood. The present study investigated the extent to which SSWS is related to metabolism, energy cost, and/or perceptual parameters during both normal and artificially constrained walking. Fourteen participants with no pathology affecting gait were tested under standard conditions. Subjects walked on a motorized treadmill at speeds derived from their SSWS as a continuous protocol. RPE scores (CR10) and expired air to calculate energy cost ( and carbohydrate (CHO) oxidation rate ( were collected during minutes 3-4 at each speed. Eight individuals were re-tested under the same conditions within one week with a hip and knee-brace to immobilize their right leg. Deflection in RPE scores (CR10) and CHO oxidation rate ( were not related to SSWS (five and three people had deflections in the defined range of SSWS in constrained and unconstrained conditions, respectively) (p > 0.05). Constrained walking elicited a higher energy cost ( and slower SSWS (p < 0.05) versus normal walking. RPE (CR10) was not significantly different between walking conditions or at SSWS (p > 0.05). SSWS did not occur at a minimum energy cost ( in either condition, however, the size of the minimum energy cost to SSWS disparity was the same (Froude {Fr} = 0.09) in both conditions (p = 0.36). Perceptions of exertion can modify walking patterns and therefore SSWS and metabolism/ energy cost are not directly related. Strategies which minimize perceived exertion may enable faster walking in people with altered gait as our findings indicate they should self-optimize to the same extent under different conditions.

Key words: Self-selected walking speed, energy cost, Froude

           Key Points
  • Minimum energy cost (·min-1) was closely associated with, but did not occur at, SSWS.
  • Perceptual RPE (CR10) and CHO utilisation rate markers did not find a determinant for SSWS.
  • People should self-optimise walking to the same extent under different conditions.
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