The present study tested if the quadratic relationship which exists between stepping frequency and gait dynamics in walking can be generalized to stairmill climbing. To accomplish this, we investigated the joint angle dynamics and variability during continuous stairmill climbing at stepping frequencies both above and below the preferred stepping frequency (PSF). Nine subjects performed stairmill climbing at 80, 90, 100, 110 and 120% PSF and treadmill walking at preferred walking speed during which sagittal hip, knee and ankle angles were extracted. Joint angle dynamics were quantified by the largest Lyapunov exponent (LyE) and correlation dimension (CoD). Joint angle variability was estimated by the mean ensemble standard deviation (meanSD). MeanSD and CoD for all joints were significantly higher during stairmill climbing but there were no task differences in LyE. Changes in stepping frequency had only limited effect on joint angle variability and did not affect joint angle dynamics. Thus, we concluded that the quadratic relationship between stepping frequency and gait dynamics observed in walking is not present in stairmill climbing based on the investigated parameters.
- Nonlinear dynamics
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