Anticipatory postural adjustment patterns during gait initiation across the adult lifespan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Gait initiation involves a complex sequence of anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) during the transition from steady state standing to forward locomotion. APAs have four core components that function to accelerate the center of mass forwards and towards the initial single-support stance limb. These components include loading of the initial step leg, unloading of the initial stance leg, and excursion of the center of pressure in the posterior and lateral (towards the stepping leg) directions. This study examined the incidence, magnitude, and timing of these components and how they change across the lifespan (ages 20–79). 157 individuals performed five trials of self-paced, non-cued gait initiation on an instrumented walkway. At least one component of the APA was absent in 24% of all trials. The component most commonly absent was loading of the initial step leg (absent in 10% of all trials in isolation, absent in 10% of trials in conjunction with another missing component). Trials missing all four components were rare (1%) and were observed in both younger and older adults. There was no significant difference across decades in the incidence of trials without an APA, the number or type of APA components absent, or the magnitude or timing of the APA components. These data demonstrate that one or more components of the APA sequence are commonly absent in the general population and the spatiotemporal profile of the APA does not markedly change with ageing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-187
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • Gait initiation
  • Anticipatory postural adjustments
  • Balance
  • Posture
  • Ageing

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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