Influences of Changes in the Level of Support and Walking Speed on the H Reflex of the Soleus Muscle and Circulatory Dynamics on Body Weight-supported Treadmill Training: Investigation in Healthy Adults
[Purpose] To investigate the therapeutic usefulness of treadmill walking using a body weight support device (BWS), changes in circulatory dynamics and muscle activities with various levels of support were investigated. [Subjects and Methods] The subjects were divided into 3 groups: 20% BWS, 40% BWS, and full body weight (FBW). The subjects walked at maximum and normal speeds. Under each condition, H and M waves and skin temperature before and after walking and changes in the heart rate during walking were measured. [Results] The heart rate continued to increase after 3 minutes of FBW at the maximum walking speed, but a steady state was reached after 3 minutes under the other walking conditions. Regarding skin temperature, no significant difference from that at rest was noted 30 minutes after walking at the normal speed, but it was significantly higher than that at rest at 30 minutes after walking at the maximum speed. The H/M ratio was significantly higher after walking at the maximum walking speed in the FBW and 20% BWS groups compared with the 40% BWS groups. [Conclusion] Treatment with 40% BWS at the maximum walking speed was safe for the circulatory system and may be effective in elevating the skin temperature for a prolonged period compared with the effects of the other walking conditions at normal speed.