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The Relationship Between Arm Movement and Walking Stability in Bipedal Walking

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Research on bipedal walking is currently underway in a variety of fields. In engineering, robots that can walk in a bipedal manner are now under development, and, in medicine, important data on human walking characteristics are being gathered for use in the clinical analysis of walking for use in rehabilitation programs. The analysis of walking movement has generally focused on the legs rather than the arms, probably due to a perception that the arms do not play an essential role in this movement. However, if a quantitative understanding of arm movement functions can be obtained, this data will prove invaluable in the fields of robotics, sports physiology, and rehabilitation research. This study focuses on the relationship between arm movement and walking stability during bipedal walking. Subjects were 8 healthy, young males without walking disabilities who mounted an electric treadmill and walked in three different modes unrestrained, with arms strapped to the sides of the body, and with arms swung up 90 degrees. In each of these modes the treadmill was set to 3 speeds. Subjects walked for 2 minutes at each speed in each mode 9 different mode-speed combinations. Movement was videotaped from two different positions. Analysis of variance was conducted for each measurement item using the factors of walking posture and speed. Results showed that at high walking speed 5.7 kmhr, the Shoulder Fulcrum Dispersion SFD was significantly higher for walking with arms immobilized than for unrestrained walking. This indicates that, at low and medium speeds 2.7 kmhr and 4.2 kmhr, respectively, the effect of restricted arm movements on upper body posture was minimal, whereas, at high speed, its effect on stability was considerable. The use of SFD as an index in this study provided a comparison with the subjective evaluations of the subjects as well as a quantitative understanding of walking stability based on analysis of variance. 5 figures, 4 references

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  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

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