Higher ventilatory responses during and after passive walking-like leg movement in older individuals
Springer Science and Business Media LLC -- Journal of Physiological Anthropology
DOI 10.1186/1880-6805-32-20
Keyword(s)
  1. Walking
  2. Passive limb movement
  3. Standing posture
  4. Ventilation
  5. Aging
Abstract(s)

Background

Minute ventilation (V·E) during walking has been shown to be higher in older individuals than in young individuals, but the mechanisms underlying the higher ventilatory response is unclear. Central command and peripheral neural reflex are important neural control mechanisms underlying ventilatory response during exercise. Passive leg movement has been used to exclude the influence of central command due to the lack of voluntary activation of muscles. The aim of the present study was to compare the ventilatory response during and after passive walking-like leg movement (PWM) in young and older individuals.

Methods

Eight young subjects (20 ± 2 years) and seven older subjects (70 ± 1 years) participated in this study. Subjects spent 7 minutes in a quiet standing (QS) position. Thereafter, they performed 14-minute rhythmic PWM at 1 Hz and this was followed by 7 minutes of QS.

Results

V·E values during pre-PWM QS were calculated as 1-minute averages using data obtained between 5 and 6 minutes. V·E values at pre-PWM QS in the young and older groups were 8.4 ± 2.1 and 7.5 ± 1.2 l/minute, respectively. V·E values increased significantly at the first minute of PWM to 11.4 ± 2.2 and 10.4 ± 2.5 l/minute in the young and older groups, respectively (P <0.001). In the young group, V·E at the last minute of PWM (9.2 ± 2.0 l/minute) was not significantly different from that at pre-PWM QS due to a decline in V·E, whereas V·E at the last minute of PWM in the older group (9.4 ± 2.2 l/minute) was still significantly higher (P <0.01). On the other hand, V·E at the first minute of post-PWM QS (7.2 ± 1.8 l/minute) was significantly lower than that during pre-PWM QS in the young group (P <0.05) but not in the older group.

Conclusions

Ventilatory response during and after PWM is higher in older individuals than in young individuals. This may be associated with a mechanism(s) other than central command. Our findings may explain part of the higher V·E response while walking in older individuals.