Water depth effects on impact loading, kinematic and physiological variables during water treadmill running
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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare impact loading, kinematic and physiological responses to three different immersion depths (mid-shin, mid-thigh, and xiphoid process) while running at the same speed on a water based treadmill. METHODS: Participants (N=8) ran on a water treadmill at three depths for 3min. Tri-axial accelerometers were used to identify running dynamics plus measures associated with impact loading rates, while heart rate data were logged to indicate physiological demand. RESULTS: Participants had greater peak impact accelerations (p<0.01), greater impact loading rates (p<0.0001), greater stride frequency (p<0.05), shorter stride length (p<0.01), and greater rate of acceleration development at toe-off (p<0.0001) for the mid-shin and mid-thigh compared to running immersed to the xiphoid process. Physiological effort determined by heart rate was also significantly less (p<0.0001) when running immersed to the xiphoid process. CONCLUSION: Water immersed treadmill running above the waistline alters kinematics of gait, reduces variables associated with impact, while decreasing physiological demand compared to depths below the waistline.
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