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Rishann Nielson, Pat R. Vehrs, Gilbert W. Fellingham, Ronald Hager and Keven A. Prusak

Background:

The purposes of this study were to determine the accuracy and reliability of step counts and energy expenditure as estimated by a pedometer during treadmill walking and to clarify the relationship between step counts and current physical activity recommendations.

Methods:

One hundred males (n = 50) and females (n = 50) walked at stride frequencies (SF) of 80, 90, 100, 110, and 120 steps/min, during which time step counts and energy expenditure were estimated with a Walk4Life Elite pedometer.

Results:

The pedometer accurately measured step counts at SFs of 100, 110, and 120 steps/min, but not 80 and 90 steps/min. Compared with energy expenditure as measured by a metabolic cart, the pedometer significantly underestimated energy expenditure at 80 steps/min and significantly overestimated measured energy expenditure at 90, 100, 110, and 120 steps/ min.

Conclusions:

The pedometers’ inability to accurately estimate energy expenditure cannot be attributed to stride length entered into the pedometer or its ability to measure step counts. Males met 3 criteria and females met 2 criteria for moderate-intensity physical activity at SF of 110 to 120 steps/min. These results provide the basis for defining moderate-intensity physical activity based on energy expenditure and step counts and may lead to an appropriate steps/day recommendation.

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John M. Schuna Jr., Tiago V. Barreira, Daniel S. Hsia, William D. Johnson and Catrine Tudor-Locke

Background:

Energy expenditure (EE) estimates for a broad age range of youth performing a variety of activities are needed.

Methods:

106 participants (6–18 years) completed 6 free-living activities (seated rest, movie watching, coloring, stair climbing, basketball dribbling, jumping jacks) and up to 9 treadmill walking bouts (13.4 to 120.7 m/min; 13.4 m/min increments). Breath-by-breath oxygen uptake (VO2) was measured using the COSMED K4b2 and EE was quantified as youth metabolic equivalents (METy1:VO2/measured resting VO2, METy2:VO2/estimated resting VO2). Age trends were evaluated with ANOVA.

Results:

Seated movie watching produced the lowest mean METy1 (6- to 9-year-olds: 0.94 ± 0.13) and METy2 values (13- to 15-year-olds: 1.10 ± 0.19), and jumping jacks produced the highest mean METy1 (13- to 15-year-olds: 6.89 ± 1.47) and METy2 values (16- to 18-year-olds: 8.61 ± 2.03). Significant age-related variability in METy1 and METy2 were noted for 8 and 2 of the 15 evaluated activities, respectively.

Conclusions:

Descriptive EE data presented herein will augment the Youth Compendium of Physical Activities.

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Jill A. Kanaley, Richard A. Boileau, Benjamin H. Massey and James E. Misner

Changes in muscular efficiency as it relates to age were examined during inclined submaximal treadmill walking in 298 boys ages 7–15 years. Furthermore, the changes in efficiency with increased work intensity (67–90% V̇O2max) were studied. Efficiency was expressed as submaximal oxygen consumption (V̇O2) and was calculated mathematically as energy out/energy in = (vertical distance) (wt of subject)/(V̇O2 L • min−1) (kcal equivalent). Efficiency, calculated mathematically, was found to significantly increase (p<.01) with age, with the younger children (<9 yrs) being less efficient than the older children (13–15 yrs). These values ranged from 12.8% for the youngest boys (<9 yrs) to 16.4% for the oldest boys (13–15 yrs). In addition, efficiency significantly increased in a linear fashion (p<.01) during submaximal workloads within each age group. No significant interactions (p>.05) between age and workload were found. These values are lower than gross efficiency values during cycling previously reported in the literature for adults; however, they support earlier findings that children increase in efficiency with age and work intensity, regardless if expressed as efficiency or V̇O2 (ml • kg−1 •min−1). These findings suggest that parameters associated with growth and development may influence muscular efficiency with age.

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Phillip D. Tomporowski and Michel Audiffren

Thirty-one young (mean age = 20.8 years) and 30 older (mean age = 71.5 years) men and women categorized as physically active (n = 30) or inactive (n = 31) performed an executive processing task while standing, treadmill walking at a preferred pace, and treadmill walking at a faster pace. Dual-task interference was predicted to negatively impact older adults’ cognitive flexibility as measured by an auditory switch task more than younger adults; further, participants’ level of physical activity was predicted to mitigate the relation. For older adults, treadmill walking was accompanied by significantly more rapid response times and reductions in local- and mixed-switch costs. A speed-accuracy tradeoff was observed in which response errors increased linearly as walking speed increased, suggesting that locomotion under dual-task conditions degrades the quality of older adults’ cognitive flexibility. Participants’ level of physical activity did not influence cognitive test performance.

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Daniel E. Lidstone, Justin A. Stewart, Reed Gurchiek, Alan R. Needle, Herman van Werkhoven and Jeffrey M. McBride

e3182456057 11. Blacker SD , Fallowfield JL , Bilzon JL , Willems ME . Physiological responses to load carriage during level and downhill treadmill walking . Medicina Sportiva . 2009 ; 13 ( 2 ): 116 – 124 . 10.2478/v10036-009-0018-1 10.2478/v10036-009-0018-1 12. Grenier JG , Millet

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Christopher A. Miller, Alan H. Feiveson and Jacob J. Bloomberg

Gait kinematics have been shown to vary with speed and visual-target fixation distance, but their combined effects on toe trajectory during treadmill walking are not known. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the role of walking speed and target distance on vertical toe trajectory during treadmill walking. Subjects walked on a treadmill at five speeds while performing a dynamic visual-acuity task at both “far” and “near” target distances (ten trials total). The analysis concentrated on three specific toe trajectory events during swing: the first peak toe height just after toe-off; the minimum toe height (toe clearance), and the second peak toe height just before heel strike. With increasing speed, toe clearance decreased and the peak toe height just before heel strike increased. Only the peak toe height just after toe-off was significantly changed between the near-target and far-target tasks, though the difference was small. Therefore, walking speed and visual-fixation distance cannot be neglected in the analysis of toe trajectory. Otherwise, differences observed between populations may be attributed to age- or clinically related factors, instead of disparities of speed or target-fixation distance.

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Tatsuhisa Takahashi, Akiyoshi Okada, Jun-ichiro Hayano and Nobuo Takeshima

To determine water immersion’s effect on heart rate (HR) and vagal tone, the authors examined HR and high-frequency R-R-interval variability in 7 healthy older adults at rest and during treadmill walking, starting at 3.0 km/hr and increasing 0.5 km/hr every 3 min at a 5% grade to exhaustion. Participants performed the test on land and then immersed in water to the xiphoid. HR at rest did not differ between water and land. During walking at 3.0 km/min, HR was significantly lower in water than on land, whereas at 4.5 and 5.0 km/min it was significantly higher (each p < .05). Peak HR at exhaustion was not significantly different between water and land. High-frequency amplitudes at rest and during exercise in water were not significantly different from those on land. The results suggest that resting vagus tone and vagal changes in response to walking exercise in elderly adults are not greatly affected by water immersion.

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Joanne Kraenzle Schneider and Kenneth H. Pitetti

The purpose of this study was to compare measured V˙O2, at specific stages with the American College of Sports Medicine-predicted V˙O2, at the same stage during treadmill walking in older women. Twenty-five women (age range = 56.6 to 78.1 years; mean ± SD = 66.6 ± 5.8 years) walked on a treadmill at a speed of 2.0 mph and 0% grade for the first stage and at increased grades for each subsequent stage. The results showed considerable lack of agreement between the measured and predicted V˙O2, values. Predicted V˙O2, was lower than measured V˙O2, at 0% grade and higher than measured V˙O2, al 10.2% grade (p < .05 for both). However, predicted V˙O2, was not significantly different from measured V˙O2, at grades of 3.4% and 6.7%. These results are generalizable only to older women who can walk 2.0 mph on a treadmill and do not use handrail support. Future research is needed to develop more accurate equations for predicting V˙O2, for older women.

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Hanatsu Nagano, Rezaul K. Begg, William A. Sparrow and Simon Taylor

Although lower limb strength becomes asymmetrical with age, past studies of aging effects on gait biomechanics have usually analyzed only one limb. This experiment measured how aging and treadmill surface influenced both dominant and nondominant step parameters in older (mean 74.0 y) and young participants (mean 21.9 y). Step-cycle parameters were obtained from 3-dimensional position/time data during preferred-speed walking for 40 trials along a 10 m walkway and for 10 minutes of treadmill walking. Walking speed (young 1.23 m/s, older 1.24 m/s) and step velocity for the two age groups were similar in overground walking but older adults showed significantly slower walking speed (young 1.26 m/s, older 1.05 m/s) and step velocity on the treadmill due to reduced step length and prolonged step time. Older adults had shorter step length than young adults and both groups reduced step length on the treadmill. Step velocity and length of older adults’ dominant limb was asymmetrically larger. Older adults increased the proportion of double support in step time when treadmill walking. This adaptation combined with reduced step velocity and length may preserve balance. The results suggest that bilateral analyses should be employed to accurately describe asymmetric features of gait especially for older adults.

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Felipe Alvim, Lucenildo Cerqueira, Aluízio D’Affonsêca Netto, Guilherme Leite and Adriane Muniz

This study involved a comparison of 5 kinematic-based algorithms to detect heel strike (HS) and toe-off (TO) events during human locomotion at different speeds. The objective was to assess how different running and walking speeds affect contact event determination during treadmill locomotion. Thirty male runners performed walking at 5 km/h and running at 9, 11, and 13 km/h on a treadmill. A kinematic system was used to capture the trajectories of 2 retro-reflective markers placed at the subject’s right heel and second metatarsal. A footswitch device was used to determine the “true” times of HS and TO compared with 5 kinematic-based algorithms. The results of the current study illustrated that speed influences the HS error in the vertical position and horizontal velocity algorithms, and the TO error in the vertical position and horizontal velocity algorithms. This difference was found in the transition from walking to running; however, higher running speeds did not affect the error estimation. Higher accuracy was found with combined algorithms, namely, one using vertical acceleration and position and another using horizontal and vertical position with no influence from different locomotion speeds. Therefore, these algorithms are recommended in studies where speed is self-selected because they work well for a broad range of locomotion velocities.