Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Integrative Physiology

First Advisor

Rodger Kram

Second Advisor

Alena M. Grabowski

Third Advisor

William C. Byrnes

Abstract

Clinical devices exist aiding in injury rehabilitation by “unweighting” a runner on a treadmill. Here, I designed, built and tested a Mobile Reduced Gravity Cart (MRGC) for outdoor usage. Three pilot tests were conducted to determine if the MRGC enhanced distance running performance using Heart Rate (HR) as a metric for exercise intensity. No substantial decreases in HR were found when using the MRGC compared to normal running. I conducted four diagnostic tests to determine why the MRGC was not working as expected. Adding mass to the cart increased HR by ~0.37bpm per kilogram. Similar small increases in HR were found when adding mass to the MRGC while the runner was unweighted. Stride kinematics were investigated with and without the MRGC. It appears the interaction between reduced gravitational forces (GF) and increased inertial forces (IF) may be responsible for the lack of change in both exercise intensity and stride kinematics.

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