Comparison of cardiovascular responses following self-selected maximal effort in forward, backward and sideways walking
Humans learned to walk forward in the course of evolution, while sideways and backward walking are considered to be novel tasks. This study compared the cardiovascular parameters during forward, backward and sideways walking of students in a Nigerian University. Fifty apparently healthy young adult students (25.6±2.0 years) were purposively recruited to participate in the study. Participants had their anthropometric characteristics (weight and height) and cardiovascular parameters (heart rate [HR], systolic blood pressure [SBP], diastolic blood pressure [DBP], mean arterial pressure [MAP], pulse pressure (PP) and rate pressure product (RPP), and rate of perceived exertion [RPE]) determined at baseline. Participants’ HR, SBP, DBP, MAP and RPE responses after a 100 meter walk at the subject’s self-selected maximum speed during the different modes of walking were compared using multiple analysis of variance. Significantly higher DBP, MAP (P<0.05) and RPE (P<0.01) for sideways walking compared to backward walking, higher (P<0.01) HR, SBP and RPE for both sideways walking
and backward walking compared to forward walking, and higher (P<0.01) HR, SBP, DBP, MAP and RPE for sideways walking compared to forward walking were found. We also found higher (P<0.01) HR, SBP and RPE for backward walking compared to the corresponding values during forward walking. Overall, findings of heightened cardiovascular responses suggest higher energy expenditure in sideways walking compared to forward and backward walking. We hypothesize that the differential plane of motion and the more prevalent static muscle work
in sideways walking may be responsible for the apparently more strenuous nature of sideways walking compared to the other modes.
Keywords: Cardiovascular; Energy expenditure; Ambulation; Walking; Motor pattern