Dynamic stability during running gait termination: Differences in strategies between children and adults to control forward momentum.

Document Type


Publication Date



Rapid deceleration during running is key for successful participation in most childhood activities and sports; this requires modulation of body momentum and consequent challenges to postural equilibrium. The purpose of this study was to investigate the strategies employed by adults and children to control forward momentum and terminate running gait. Sixteen young adults and 15 pre-pubertal children completed two tasks as fast as possible: an unobstructed run (RUN) and a run and stop (STOP) at a pre-determined location. For STOP, center of mass (COM) approach velocity and momentum prior to deceleration and spatiotemporal characteristics and COM position during deceleration were compared between groups. Position and velocity variables were normalized to height and maximum velocity during RUN, respectively. Children used fewer steps with relatively longer step length to decelerate over a relatively longer distance and longer time than adults. Children approached at higher relative velocity than adults, but adults approached with greater momentum. Adults positioned their COM lower and more posterior than children throughout deceleration. Our results suggest that pre-pubertal children and young adults employ different strategies to modulate body momentum, with adults exhibiting mechanics characteristic of a more stable strategy. Despite less stable mechanics, children and adults achieved similar success.

Publication Title

Human movement science



First Page


Last Page


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


PubMed ID




Rights Statement

In Copyright