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Load Carriage Impacts On The Human Body

2536 words - 10 pages

Oakland UniversityLoad Carriage Impacts on the Human BodyLogan LongmanG00144156EXS 350Professor BrennanJanuary 3, 2014The warfare of today is much different than it was centuries and even decades ago. During the Civil War, Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest had one simple tactical approach: "Get there first with the most men."1 Over the years that simple notion has transformed due to the advancements in technology and nuclear weapons.1 Today, soldiers have a lot of advanced equipment at their disposal, and have to carry most of it on their own backs. The typical United States soldier has a load that averages more than 100 pounds, which includes items from boots to ammunition, and body armor to night vision goggles.2 The soldiers of today's modern warfare have the tactical advantage over prior soldiers with new technology; but are they as efficient as they can possibly be? How mobile are they when they carry all this gear around? What bio-mechanical and physiological effects does a large load have on the body? How long can they carry a full set of gear at a high intensity? A various amount of studies have set out to answer these tough questions that face the young soldiers of the United States.Load carriage affects the body in a number of different ways. Past and present research all point to the following mechanisms and impacts due to load carriage on the human body:Effects on kinematics of gaitSkeletal discomfortPhysiological, biomechanical and medical aspectsWeight magnitude and distribution on walking patterns and comfort perceptionsMetabolic cost of backpack and shoulder carriageLoad position on physiological and perceptual responsesEnergy cost and mechanical work of walkingPerformance of explosive anaerobic military tasksAn unavoidable and common activity of a soldier's day is manual load carriage. An infantryman may carry a load on the back, shoulders, waist and hands. To optimize a soldier's performance, with a future design of a heavy military backpack or improved body armor, the evaluation of their kinematic responses to load carriage operations is needed.3 Majumdar et al evaluated soldier's kinematic responses with a study that compared a subject group of healthy male infantry soldiers carrying loads of 4.2-17.5 kg, which is about 6.5-27.2% body weight, against a control group carrying no load at a self-selected speed.3 The soldier's mean characteristics were: 23.3 years of age, 172.0 cm tall and weighed 64.3 kg.3 Results indicated increases in step and stride length as pertained to the soldier's walking gait when carrying a load as compared to no load.3 The outcomes of the soldiers carrying the load were as such because of an adaptive occurrence by the individuals to counterbalance the load.3 Also, under the load the ranges of motion of the ankle and hip were significant in that the ankle was more dorsi-flexed and the knee and hip were more flexed during foot strike as to help the body absorb the load when walking.3 In addition...

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