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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Don W. Morgan, PhD (Arizona State University)
Description: This book takes a multidisciplinary approach in linking energy use and human locomotion.
Purpose: The purpose is to examine the hypothesis that minimizing metabolic energy expenditure is a universal constraint on the structure of emerging movement patterns. Since movement is a basic human activity that promotes health, well-being, and independence, understanding fundamental principles that govern human motion is important. Using research findings derived from the subdisciplines of exercise physiology, biomechanics, psychology, and motor learning and control, Sparrow and his colleagues provide a detailed and contemporary discussion of how humans optimize their energy expenditure in learning and controlling movements.
Audience: Although this book is targeted generally towards movement science professionals, researchers in the field of human locomotion who are interested in gaining a broad view of how movement efficiency has been studied will probably benefit most from reading this text.
Features: A sampling of topics covered in the nine chapters include how metabolic energy expenditure is linked to sense of effort, the selection of preferred rates of movement, and transitions between different modes of gait. While much evidence is presented supporting the notion that optimizing energy use is a primary factor governing the expression of basic movement patterns in humans, the possibility that gait descriptors may be influenced by non-energy factors, such as the structural properties of body tissues and maintaining dynamic stability, is also considered. The incorporation of a dynamical systems approach in understanding how task demands and constraints affect movement proficiency in healthy individuals and those with neuromuscular disease (e.g., cerebral palsy) is a unique feature. A minor drawback is that sections of the chapter dealing with mechanical power and work in human movement may be too technical for some readers.
Assessment: This book provides a comprehensive overview of how minimizing energy expenditure regulates the development of movement patterns in humans. It should be in the library of any researcher or sports medicine professional interested in gait analysis or metabolic aspects of locomotion.