USD Faculty Member Discovers Benefits of Weights in Treating People with Walking Impairments

Hyung Suk Yang, assistant professor of kinesiology and sport management in the USD School of Education Hyung Suk Yang, Ph.D., discovered benefits of weights in treating people with walking impairments.

Vermillion, S.D. – Hyung Suk Yang, Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology and sport management in the University of South Dakota School of Education, published research in Human Movement Science that explains how strategically positioned weights can improve treatment for those with difficulty walking, such as patients with Parkinson’s Disease or victims of stroke.

The research, “Effects of Arm Weight on Gait Performance in Healthy Subjects,” examined how added weights affect the way people walk, including their swing amplitude, gait performance and muscle activity. This project studied healthy people in order to better understand clinical effects, whereas previous research focused on patients with Parkinson’s.

Participants were given different weights in a variety of positions and were then instructed to walk at their preferred speed. The findings suggest that the addition of weights to specific areas causes people to overcompensate and walk at a faster rate, which could be beneficial in intervention practices for those with movement limitations.

“Walking while carrying an additional weight is a common activity in everyday life,” Yang said. “The improved walking performance with weights observed in the study could have important implications for those individuals who suffer from walking impairments.”

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