Side by side treadmill walking with intentionally desynchronized gait

Jeff A. Nessler, David McMillan, Michael Schoulten, Teresa Shallow, Brianna Stewart, Charles De Leone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Humans demonstrate an innate desire to synchronize stepping when walking side by side. This behavior requires modification of each person's gait, which may increase for pairings with very different walking patterns. The purpose of this study was to compare locomotor behavior for conditions in which partners exhibited similar and substantially different walking patterns. Twenty-six unimpaired subjects walked on a motorized treadmill at their preferred walking speed for three trials: by themselves (SOLO), next to someone on an adjacent treadmill (PAIRED), and next to someone who purposely avoided synchronization by altering stride times and/or lengths (DeSYNC). Means, coefficients of variance, approximate entropy (ApEn), rate of autocorrelation decay (α), and estimates of maximal Lyapunov exponents (λ*) were calculated for several dependent variables taken from sagittal plane kinematic data. Few differences in behavior were noted when the PAIRED condition was compared to the SOLO condition. However, the DeSYNC condition resulted in several alterations in ApEn, α, and λ*. These results suggest that greater differences in walking pattern between partners will facilitate greater modification to an individual's gait. Additional study of side by side walking may hold implications for understanding the control of gait in humans and may have application in a clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1680-1691
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of biomedical engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Approximate entropy
  • Detrended fluctuation analysis
  • Entrainment
  • Maximal Lyapunov exponents
  • Paired walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Side by side treadmill walking with intentionally desynchronized gait'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this