Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences

First Committee Member

Julia Freedman Silvernail

Second Committee Member

Janet Dufek

Third Committee Member

Kara Radzak

Fourth Committee Member

Sean Mulvenon

Fifth Committee Member

Jennifer Pharr

Number of Pages



Neuromuscular changes occur with aging, contributing to a decline in mobility and performance. The underlying cause of changes in gait and mobility limitations is a decrease in muscle function. However, additional factors like strength, balance, joint mobility, and fatigability can together lead to dynamic gait adaptations. Although there are numerous causes of muscle loss, including aging, evidence suggests physical activity can attenuate and possibly reverse these losses. With the significant economic cost associated with aging ($50 billion spent on non-fatal falls in 2014) and physical cost associated with aging (at least 30% of adults ≥65 report difficulty walking), there is a need for research focus to be placed on extending healthy life , or health-span, the part of one's life when they are in good health. The effect of an active lifestyle later into life as a preventive measure for age-related declines has been well defined for general health, but less is known about the influence on movement health. Specifically, with the increase in participation by older adults in endurance events, research is needed to evaluate how exercising throughout the life-span can affect the aging process and the injury risk of these individuals. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the role of an active lifestyle on altering the progression of age-related gait changes. By following with a series of studies to assess the interaction of aging and 1) exercise modality, 2) fatigue, and 3) running, on locomotion we were able to identify similarities in gait mechanics in active older adults and young runners that may be the result of an active lifestyle.


Aging; Healthy aging; Locomotion; Neuromuscular changes



File Format


File Size

1591 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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Included in

Biomechanics Commons