gms | German Medical Science

Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Timed up-and-go, functional reach and gait velocity in healthy young students, healthy older people and frail elderly

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author B. Langhammer - Oslo University College, Norway
  • B. Lindmark - Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa074

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Langhammer et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




Balance and walking are the main focus in many health- promoting programmes for older people, to prevent falls or to improve general health, and the possibility of increasing and decreasing speed is a necessary part of independent walking. The principal aim of this study was to measure the balance ability of three different groups, by two commonly used clinical tests: Time Up and Go (TUG) and Functional Reach (FR). Another purpose was to investigate the relationship between balance, gait velocity and gait parameters such as step length, width and cadence in the same three groups.


Convenience samples of young healthy students (n=34), healthy elderly persons living at home (n=26) and institutionalised geriatric patients (n =18) were randomly recruited on three different occasions in the year 2003-4. Females predominated in all groups.

Main Outcome Measures

All subjects were monitored regarding maximal gait velocity, step length, step width and cadence. TUG and FR were also performed in the same groups.


Performance in TUG, FR and gait velocity deteriorated in relation to age and state of ill-health. The balance measures TUG and FR were ea significantly correlated to gait velocity in the group of healthy older people (r = -0.67, r = 0.78) and in institutionalised geriatric patients (r = -0.57; r = 0.50), but in the group of young healthy persons only TUG was correlated to gait velocity (r = -0.50). Gait velocity was significantly correlated with step length and cadence in all three groups.


The relationship between balance and gait velocity is age- and task - related. Increased gait velocity was correlated to static and dynamic balance, as measured with FR and TUG, in the two elderly groups, but only to dynamic balance (TUG) in the young group. In all three groups step length and cadence correlated to gait velocity.