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Keywords:

  • gait speed;
  • movement velocity;
  • quadriceps strength;
  • trunk muscle endurance;
  • upper limbs

Aim

A number of studies have shown that the maximum movement velocity of the lower limbs is a critical determinant of gait speed in elderly adults. However, it is still unclear whether gait speed is associated with the movement velocity of the lower limbs or the movement velocity itself. Therefore, we measured the movement velocity of upper limbs that would not have a direct effect on gait, and examined the relationship between the movement velocity and gait speed.

Methods

A total of 76 community-dwelling adults aged older than 60 years (mean age 73.3 years) participated in the study. We measured the movement velocity of the upper limbs, maximum gait speed, quadriceps strength, trunk muscle endurance and skeletal muscle mass index.

Results

A significant correlation was found between the movement velocity of the upper limbs and maximum gait speed (r = 0.47; P < 0.01). In a stepwise multiple regression analysis using maximum gait speed as a dependent variable, age, movement velocity of the upper limbs, body mass index and quadriceps strength were selected as independent variables (R2 = 0.55, P < 0.001).

Conclusions

The movement velocity of the upper limbs is a significant determinant of maximum gait speed, suggesting that the ability to move any region rapidly might be a critical factor in maximum gait speed. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2014; 14: 886–891.