Walking/POWER UP

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Question
(This is not a spam or a homework question)
I have a disability called cerebral palsy and use crutches to walk, so I was wondering would you please explain to me in a easy way that I can understand: why do I use up more energy then normal abled people?

Answer
I did a little research, enough to know the cerebral palsy condition is way beyond my expertise. So I can't address your problem from that direction.

However, walking with crutches definitely takes more energy than normal walking. You would think that because you can lean on the crutches, it takes some of your body weight off of your legs and that should reduce the energy of walking. But all that does is shift the energy use from your legs to your upper body. Most people have stronger legs than upper body, but that is still not the issue.

It comes down to efficiency. Human walking is an extremely efficient way to move, meaning one uses the least amount of energy in getting from point A to point B, compared to any other way of getting there under your own power. That includes using crutches.

So it turns out that crutch use is less natural and that means it take more energy to use them.

I hope that is enough detail for you. There may be other things involving your condition, but I have to stick to biomechanical concepts.

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Scott Demaree

Expertise

I can answer questions about training, physiology, nutrition, technique, equipment and injury prevention. My background is not medical, so I will not be able to answer detailed questions about injury treatment. However, during 30 years of endurance exercise I have had a few injuries so I feel qualified to talk about things that have worked for me and others.

Experience

I have been a long distance runner since 1978 and took up racewalking in 1982. More recently, I have worked as a certified personal trainer helping people with a wide range of exercise needs. Last year, I coached several people to successfully finish the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk in Dallas (60 miles in three days).

Organizations
American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, National Science Teachers Association

Publications
Journal articles associated with my graduate work with me as the primary author were published in the Journal of Nutrition, Acta Physiologica Scandanavica. Additionally, I co-authored the chapter on exercise metabolism in ACSM's Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 4th Edition. Finally. I co-authored a book for beginning marathon runners (Marathoning 101).


Education/Credentials
I have recent Master's degrees in Exercise Science from Wichita State University and Nutrition from Texas A&M University.

Awards and Honors
I won national championships in the 1986 100-Kilometer Racewalk and the 1989 24-Hour Run.

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