Four Computer Science and Applications (CSA, Model 7164) accelerometers were validated against speed and heart rate in a field trial, consisting of two walking and two preset running speeds, and 3 min of running at freely chosen speeds. Fifteen children (9–11 years) were recruited from a suburban school in Denmark. Mean CSA output was calculated and converted to acceleration by calibration to sinusoidal accelerations in a mechanical setup, the latter variable being independent of frequency-based filtering. Mean CSA output and estimated acceleration both correlated significantly with speed (r2 = 0.55 and r2 = 0.76, respectively) and heart rate (r2 = 0.60 and r2 = 0.81, respectively), controlled for gender. ANOVA post hoc test failed to show significant differences in accelerometer output between running speeds. Inter-individual variability of CSA output and acceleration could not be explained by differences in step frequency in walking but running values correlated significantly with step frequency (r = −0.86 and r = −0.47 for CSA output and acceleration, respectively). Conversion of CSA output to average acceleration provides more precise estimates of intensity with less inter-individual variability than raw CSA output. Different running intensities, however, are generally not well differentiated with vertical accelerometry.
S. Brage and K. Froberg are with the Institute of Sport Science & Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Main Campus: Odense University, Odense, Denmark; S. Brage is also with the Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; N. Wedderkopp is with the University Hospital of Odense, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark; and L.B. Andersen is with the Institute of Sport Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.