When human walking becomes random walking: Fractal analysis and modeling of gait rhythm fluctuations

Jeffrey M. Hausdorff*, Yosef Ashkenazy, Chang K. Peng, Plamen Ch Ivanov, H. Eugene Stanley, Ary L. Goldberger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


We present a random walk, fractal analysis of the stride-to-stride fluctuations in the human gait rhythm. The gait of healthy young adults is scale-free with long-range correlations extending over hundreds of strides. This fractal scaling changes characteristically with maturation in children and older adults and becomes almost completely uncorrelated with certain neurologic diseases. Stochastic modeling of the gait rhythm dynamics, based on transitions between different "neural centers", reproduces distinctive statistical properties of the gait pattern. By tuning one model parameter, the hopping (transition) range, the model can describe alterations in gait dynamics from childhood to adulthood - including a decrease in the correlation and volatility exponents with maturation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-147
Number of pages10
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Workshop on Frontiers in the Physics of Complex Systems - Ramat-Gan, Israel
Duration: 25 Mar 200128 Mar 2001


FundersFunder number
Mathers Charitable Foundation
National Institutes of Health
National Institute on AgingR29AG014100
National Center for Research ResourcesP41 RR13622
Fetzer Institute
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentHD39838


    • Aging
    • Gait
    • Nonlinear dynamics
    • Stochastic processes


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