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This study examined the physiology of the 1-mile walk test as administered in the field with 16 (7 M, 9 F) older adults (mean age 66.1 ± 5.9 yrs). Physiologic data were obtained via a Cosmed K2 miniaturized O2 analyzer with telemetric capabilities during a maximal treadmill (TM) test and a 1-mile walk test (MWT). Oxygen consumption (ml · kg−1 · min−1), minute ventilation (L · min−1), and heart rate (b · min−1) values obtained at maximal levels on the TM were 25.6 ± 7.6, 57 ± 17, and 155 ± 16, respectively. The measured V̇O2 submax during the MWT was 18.5 + 5, V̇E submax was 44 ± 10, and HR submax was 140 ± 19. The subjects were able to hold 74% of the V̇O2max, 81% of V̇Emax, and 91% of HR max. An upward drift for HR and V̇E was noted while V̇O2 remained constant throughout the MWT. The MWT with older subjects requires a vigorous level of metabolic and cardiorespiratory intensity. For healthy older adults who have been properly screened for hidden metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, participation in the MWT appears feasible.
C. Bazzano is with the Dept. of Human Performance and Fitness, University of Massachusetts/Boston, Boston, MA 02143; L.N. Cunningham is with the Dept. of Physical Education, Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg, MA 01420; G. Cama is in Endocrinology and Sports Medicine, ISEF Statale, Rome, Italy; T. Falconio is with Intensive Care and Sports Medicine, Lanciano Hospital, Lanciano, Italy.