Mechanics of very slow human walking

Amy R. Wu*, Cole S. Simpson, Edwin H.F. van Asseldonk, Herman van der Kooij, Auke J. Ijspeert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)


Human walking speeds can be influenced by multiple factors, from energetic considerations to the time to reach a destination. Neurological deficits or lower-limb injuries can lead to slower walking speeds, and the recovery of able-bodied gait speed and behavior from impaired gait is considered an important rehabilitation goal. Because gait studies are typically performed at faster speeds, little normative data exists for very slow speeds (less than 0.6 ms− 1). The purpose of our study was to investigate healthy gait mechanics at extremely slow walking speeds. We recorded kinematic and kinetic data from eight adult subjects walking at four slow speeds from 0.1 ms− 1 to 0.6 ms− 1 and at their self-selected speed. We found that known relations for spatiotemporal and work measures are still valid at very slow speeds. Trends derived from slow speeds largely provided reasonable estimates of gait measures at self-selected speeds. Our study helps enable valuable comparisons between able-bodied and impaired gait, including which pathological behaviors can be attributed to slow speeds and which to gait deficits. We also provide a slow walking dataset, which may serve as normative data for clinical evaluations and gait rehabilitative devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18079
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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