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Original Research But What About Swimming and Cycling? How to “Count” Non-Ambulatory Activity When Using Pedometers to Assess Physical Activity

Background: The aims of this study were to describe the amount of non-ambulatory physical activity (PA) undertaken by a sample of Australian workers, and to evaluate different methods of accounting for non-ambulatory activities when using pedometers to measure physical activity. Methods: Adults age 18 to 64 y (N = 204) wore a pedometer and recorded steps and non-step activity in a logbook for 7 d. Non-ambulatory activity was recorded by 28% of the participants (N = 52) with cycling and swimming the most frequently reported. Results: The mean time reported for non-ambulatory activities was 82.8 (standard deviation 80.0) min/wk. On average, participants recorded 8873 (standard deviation 2757) steps/d. Time in non-ambulatory activities was converted to steps equivalents using three different conversion methods. Use of the three methods added 333 to 721 steps/d in the whole sample, but 1153 to 2566 steps/d for those who reported non-ambulatory activity. Conclusions: Suggestions are provided for accounting for non-ambulatory activities in interventions which rely on step count measures.

Authors: Ruth Miller, Wendy Brown, Catrine Tudor-Locke

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