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

Relationship between functional capacity and gait parameters in Parkinson’s disease patients

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author L.T. Bucken Gobbi - State University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • F. Stella - State University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • S. Gobbi - State University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • F. Pieruccini-Faria - State University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • M.J. Duarte Caetano - State University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • C.S.A. Simoes - State University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa100

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

Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Bucken Gobbi 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.



Gait parameters change with the aging process. Less relevant changes are observed in physically active older individuals. The influence of the functional capacity levels on gait parameters in the elderly is well known but little is known in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients.


The aim of this study was to correlate the performance on tests of agility/dynamic balance, endurance, coordination, strength, and flexibility with the gait parameters of PD patients.


Eleven individuals with idiopathic PD (3 men and 8 women; 66.73+6.77 year-old; severity stages from 1.5 to 3.0 by Hoehn and Yahr Scale) participated in the study. Functional capacity tests followed AAHPERD guidelines. Participants walked a 10m pathway with markers attached on the following body structures: right fifth metatarsal joint, right lateral calcaneus, right lateral malleolus, left first metatarsal joint, left medial calcaneus and left medial malleolus. Five trials were performed for each subject. All trials were recorded by means of a camcorder sampling at 60 Hz. After the images had been captured by Pinacle Studio 8.8 software and all measurement procedures had been carried out by Dvideow 5.1 software, the Pearson’s coefficients of correlation were calculated between each component of functional capacity and gait parameters. The following gait dependent variables were collected and analyzed: stride length, double support time, and cadence.


The results revealed that: a) agility/dynamic balance and endurance presented negative relationships with stride length (r=- 0.733, p<0.01; r=-0.682, p<0.02; respectively), and a positive relationship with double support time (r=0.613, p<0.045; r=0.612, p<0.047; respectively); b) coordination was only related to double support time (r=0.765, p<0.006); c) there were no significant correlations (p > 0.05) between strength and flexibility with any of the gait parameters and between cadence with any functional capacity components.


These findings suggest that: a) the central pattern generators of gait, that are intact in PD, can be responsible for cadence which, in its turn, seems to be relatively independent from a wide range of functional capacity status and; b) the stride length and the double support time of PD patients are affected by the functional capacity status, mainly by those related to agility/dynamic balance and endurance.

Acknowledgements: FAPESP, PIBIC/CNPq, CNPq, FNS-MS.