Individual studies examining aging-related changes in gait offer conflicting information on differences between male and female spatiotemporal metrics over the course of a mature lifetime. Furthermore, these studies do not often account for a known difference in size between men and women, and thus may reach conclusions based upon size rather than sex differences.
To examine the influences of sex, height, and age on spatiotemporal metrics during non-pathological gait over the course of adult aging.
Potentially relevant articles were identified from PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar using the key words ‘gait,’ ‘walk’, ‘gender,’ ‘sex,’ ‘female,’ ‘male,’ ‘gait speed,’ ‘step length,’ and ‘cadence.’
(1) article could be obtained in English, (2) contained information about non-pathological subjects, (3) analyzed kinematics of walking, (4) provided female and male data, (5) average female/male age difference not more than 5 years, (6) reported a measure of variance and number of subjects, and (7) no known retractions associated with the publication.
Results and conclusions
Non-dimensional gait speed analysis suggests that gait speed differences between men and women may be an artifact of size rather than sex. In both raw and dimensionless data, this analysis indicates that men may take longer step lengths than women, and women may have a higher cadence than men. This analysis also identified a possible increase in many metrics between 20 and 40 years of age, before decreasing around the fifth decade of life. Future studies should examine these trends across the entire lifespan.
Interactions of sex and aging on spatiotemporal metrics in non-pathological gait: a descriptive meta-analysis.