The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of two submaximal exercise tests, the Sitting-Chair Step Test (Smith & Gilligan. 1983) and the Modified Step Test (Amundsen, DeVahl, & Ellingham, 1989) to predict peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak) in 28 adults ages 60 to 85 years. VO2 peak was measured by indirect calorimetry during a treadmill maximal graded exercise test (VO2 peak, range 11.6–31.1 ml · kg −l · min−1). In each of the submaximal tests, VO2 was predicted by plotting stage-by-stage submaximal heart rate (HR) and perceived exertion (RPE) data against VO2 for each stage and extrapolating the data to respective age-predicted maximal HR or RPE values. In the Sitting-Chair Step Test (n = 23), no significant differences were observed between measured and predicted VO2 peak values (p > .05). However, predicted VO2 peak values from the HR were 4.3 ml · kg−1 · min−1 higher than VO2 peak values predicted from the RPE data (p < .05). In the Modified Step Test (n = 22), no significant differences were observed between measured and predicted VO2 peak values (p > .05). Predictive accuracy was modest, explaining 49–78% of the variance in VO2 peak. These data suggest that the Sitting-Chair Step Test and the Modified Step Test have moderate validity in predicting VO2 peak in older men and women.
Barbara E. Ainsworth is with the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and the Department of Exercise Science, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. Robert G. McMurray is with the Applied Physiology Laboratory. Department of Physical Education. Exercise, and Sport Science, and the Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. Susan K. Veazey is with the Department of Physical Education, Exercise, and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.