Step counting is now a widespread and acceptable approach to self-monitoring physical activity courtesy of the recent surge in wearable technologies. Nonetheless, there remains no recommendation for steps/day in federal physical activity guidelines. The authors review current scientific literature to consider evidence regarding the volume, dose (frequency, intensity, duration, timing), and dose-response relationships for step-based metrics, including steps/day (volume), cadence (steps/min; intensity), peak 30-min cadence (steps/min; composite index of frequency, intensity, and duration), and zero cadence (proxy for sedentary behavior). Preliminary evidence suggests that communicating federal physical activity guidelines using step-based metrics could facilitate individuals’ ability to comprehend and achieve a physically active lifestyle.
Catrine Tudor-Locke and Elroy J. Aguiar
Dylan C. Perry, Christopher C. Moore, Colleen J. Sands, Elroy J. Aguiar, Zachary R. Gould, Catrine Tudor-Locke and Scott W. Ducharme
Background: While previous studies indicate an auditory metronome can entrain cadence (in steps per minute), music may also evoke prescribed cadences and metabolic intensities. Purpose: To determine how modulating the tempo of a single commercial song influences adults’ ability to entrain foot strikes while walking and how this entrainment affects metabolic intensity. Methods: Twenty healthy adults (10 men and 10 women; mean [SD]: age 23.7 [2.7] y, height 172.8 [9.0] cm, mass 71.5 [16.2] kg) walked overground on a large circular pathway for six 5-min conditions; 3 self-selected speeds (slow, normal, and fast); and 3 trials listening to a song with its tempo modulated to 80, 100, and 125 beats per minute. During music trials, participants were instructed to synchronize their step timing with the music tempo. Cadence was measured via direct observation, and metabolic intensity (metabolic equivalents) was assessed using indirect calorimetry. Results: Participants entrained their cadences to the music tempos (mean absolute percentage error = 5.3% [5.8%]). Entraining to a music tempo of 100 beats per minute yielded ≥3 metabolic equivalents in 90% of participants. Trials with music entrainment exhibited greater metabolic intensity compared with self-paced trials (repeated-measures analysis of variance, F 1,19 = 8.05, P = .01). Conclusion: This study demonstrates the potential for using music to evoke predictable metabolic intensities.
Elroy J. Aguiar, John M. Schuna Jr., Tiago V. Barreira, Emily F. Mire, Stephanie T. Broyles, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, William D. Johnson and Catrine Tudor-Locke
Walking cadence (steps per minute) is associated with the intensity of ambulatory behavior. This analysis provides normative values for peak 30-min cadence, an indicator of “natural best effort” during free-living behavior. A sample of 1,196 older adults (aged from 60 to 85+) with accelerometer data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005–2006 was used. Peak 30-min cadence was calculated for each individual. Quintile-defined values were computed, stratified by sex and age groups. Smoothed sex-specific centile curves across the age span were fitted using the LMS method. Peak 30-min cadence generally trended lower as age increased. The uppermost quintile value was >85 steps/min (men: 60–64 years), and the lowermost quintile value was <22 steps/min (women: 85+). The highest 95th centile value was 103 steps/min (men: 64–70 years), and the lowest 5th centile value was 15 steps/min (women: 85+). These normative values may be useful for evaluating older adults’ “natural best effort” during free-living ambulatory behavior.