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Mark Abel, James Hannon, David Mullineaux and Aaron Beighle

Background:

Current recommendations call for adults to be physically active at moderate and/or vigorous intensities. Given the popularity of walking and running, the use of step rates may provide a practical and inexpensive means to evaluate ambulatory intensity. Thus, the purpose of this study was to identify step rate thresholds that correspond to various intensity classifications.

Methods:

Oxygen consumption was measured at rest and during 10 minute treadmill walking and running trials at 6 standardized speeds (54, 80, 107, 134, 161, and 188 m·min-1) in 9 men and 10 women (28.8 ± 6.8 yrs). Two observers counted the participants’ steps at each treadmill speed. Linear and nonlinear regression analyses were used to develop prediction equations to ascertain step rate thresholds at various intensities.

Results:

Nonlinear regression analysis of the metabolic cost versus step rates across all treadmill speeds yielded the highest R 2 values for men (R 2 = .91) and women (R 2 = .79). For men, the nonlinear analysis yielded 94 and 125 step·min-1 for moderate and vigorous intensities, respectively. For women, 99 and 135 step·min-1 corresponded with moderate and vigorous intensities, respectively.

Conclusions:

Promoting a step rate of 100 step·min-1 may serve as a practical public health recommendation to exercise at moderate intensity.

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Cynthia M. Ferrara, Susan H. McCrone, David Brendle, Alice S. Ryan and Andrew P. Goldberg

The metabolic changes associated with the addition of 4 months of resistive exercise to an existing aerobic exercise program (AEX+RT, n = 7) were compared to a maintenance aerobic exercise program (AEX, n = 8) in overweight, older men. The subjects in this study had recently completed a 6-month aerobic exercise program (treadmill walking, 45 min/d, 2 d/wk). The AEX+RT group added 6 exercises on upper- and lower-body pneumatic-resistance machines (2 sets, 15 repetitions each, 2 d/wk) to an aerobic exercise program at ≥ 70% heart rate reserve for 30–40 min, 2 d/wk on treadmill, while the AEX group continued the same maintenance treadmill AEX program. There were no baseline differences in body weight, VO2max, or glucose metabolism between groups. The AEX+RT group increased upper- and lower-extremity strength by 28 ± 4% and 46 ± 6%, respectively (p < .05), despite a 9% decrease in VO2max (p < .05). VO2max did not change in the AEX group. There was no change in the fasting glucose or insulin levels, or the 3-h glucose responses to an oral glucose load in either group. The insulin responses decreased by 25 ± 4% in the AEX+RT group (p < .01) but did not change in the AEX group. In conclusion, the addition of resistive exercise training to an existing aerobic exercise program may improve insulin sensitivity in overweight, older men, and thus prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

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Gisela Kobberling, Louis W. Jankowski and Luc Leger

The oxygen consumption (VO2) of 30 (10 females, 20 males) legally blind adolescents and their sighted controls were compared for treadmill walking (3 mph, 4.8 km/h) and running (6 mph, 9.6 km/h). The VO2 of the visually impaired subjects averaged 24.4% and 10.8% higher than those of their same-sex age-matched controls, and 42.8% and 11.2% higher than the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) norms for walking (p<.01) and running (p<.05), respectively. The normal association between aerobic capacity and locomotor energy costs was evident among the sighted controls (r= .44, p<.05) but insignificant (r=.35, p>.05) for the visually impaired subjects. The energy costs of both walking and running were highest among the totally blind subjects, and decreased toward normal as a function of residual vision among the legally blind subjects. The energy costs of walking and running for blind adolescents are higher than both those of sighted controls and the ACSM norm values.

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Ann F. Maliszewski, Patty S. Freedson, Chris J. Ebbeling, Jill Crussemeyer and Kari B. Kastango

The Caltrac accelerometer functions as either an activity monitor that provides activity counts based on vertical acceleration as the individual moves about, or as a calorie counter in which the acceleration units are used in conjunction with body size, age, and sex to estimate energy expenditure. This study compared VO2 based energy expenditure with Caltrac estimated energy expenditure during three speeds of treadmill walking in children and adults. It also tested the validity of the Caltrac to differentiate between high and low levels of walking activity (activity counts). Ten boys and 10 men completed three randomly assigned walks while oxygen consumption was monitored and Caltrac estimates were obtained. The results indicate that the Caltrac does not accurately predict energy expenditure for boys and men across the three speeds of walking. Although there were no significant differences between actual and predicted energy expenditure values, the standard errors of estimate were high (17-25%) and the only significant correlation was found for men at the fastest walking speed (r=.81). However, the 95% confidence intervals of the activity counts and energy expenditure estimates from the Caltrac support its use as an activity monitor during walking.

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Amanda Hickey, Dinesh John, Jeffer E. Sasaki, Marianna Mavilia and Patty Freedson

Background:

There is a need to examine step-counting accuracy of activity monitors during different types of movements. The purpose of this study was to compare activity monitor and manually counted steps during treadmill and simulated free-living activities and to compare the activity monitor steps to the StepWatch (SW) in a natural setting.

Methods:

Fifteen participants performed laboratory-based treadmill (2.4, 4.8, 7.2 and 9.7 km/h) and simulated free-living activities (eg, cleaning room) while wearing an activPAL, Omron HJ720-ITC, Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200, 2 ActiGraph GT3Xs (1 in “low-frequency extension” [AGLFE] and 1 in “normal-frequency” mode), an ActiGraph 7164, and a SW. Participants also wore monitors for 1-day in their free-living environment. Linear mixed models identified differences between activity monitor steps and the criterion in the laboratory/free-living settings.

Results:

Most monitors performed poorly during treadmill walking at 2.4 km/h. Cleaning a room had the largest errors of all simulated free-living activities. The accuracy was highest for forward/rhythmic movements for all monitors. In the free-living environment, the AGLFE had the largest discrepancy with the SW.

Conclusion:

This study highlights the need to verify step-counting accuracy of activity monitors with activities that include different movement types/directions. This is important to understand the origin of errors in step-counting during free-living conditions.

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Christopher McCrum, Katrin Eysel-Gosepath, Gaspar Epro, Kenneth Meijer, Hans H.C.M. Savelberg, Gert-Peter Brüggemann and Kiros Karamanidis

Posturography is used to assess balance in clinical settings, but its relationship to gait stability is unclear. We assessed if dynamic gait stability is associated with standing balance in 12 patients with unilateral vestibulopathy. Participants were unexpectedly tripped during treadmill walking and the change in the margin of stability (MoSchange) and base of support (BoSchange) relative to nonperturbed walking was calculated for the perturbed and first recovery steps. The center of pressure (COP) path during 30-s stance with eyes open and closed, and the distance between the most anterior point of the COP and the anterior BoS boundary during forward leaning (ADist), were assessed using a force plate. Pearson correlations were conducted between the static and dynamic variables. The perturbation caused a large decrease in the BoS, leading to a decrease in MoS. One of 12 correlations was significant (MoSchange at the perturbed step and ADist; r = −.595, P = .041; nonsignificant correlations: .068 ≤ P ≤ .995). The results suggest that different control mechanisms may be involved in stance and gait stability, as a consistent relationship was not found. Therefore, posturography may be of limited use in predicting stability in dynamic situations.

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Randall J. Bergman, Justin W. Spellman, Michael E. Hall and Shawn M. Bergman

Background:

This study examined the validity of a selected free pedometer application (iPedometer; IP) for the iPhone that could be used to assess physical activity.

Methods:

Twenty college students (10 men, 10 women; mean age: 21.85 ± 1.57 yrs) wore an iPhone at 3 locations (pocket, waist, arm) and a StepWatch 3 Step Activity Monitor (SW) on their right ankle while walking on a treadmill at 5 different speeds (54, 67, 80, 94, 107 m·min−1). A research assistant counted steps with a tally counter (TC).

Results:

Statistical significance between the TC, SW, and IP was found during every condition except IP in the pocket at 107 m·min−1 (F 2,38 = .64, P = .54). Correlations involving the IP revealed only 1 positive correlation (IP on arm at 54 m·min−1) for any of the conditions (r = .46, P = .05).

Conclusion:

The IP application was not accurate in counting steps and recorded significantly lower step counts than the SW and TC. Thus, the free pedometer application used is not a valid instrument for monitoring activity during treadmill walking.

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Dinesh John, David Bassett, Dixie Thompson, Jeffrey Fairbrother and Debora Baldwin

Although using a treadmill workstation may change the sedentary nature of desk jobs, it is unknown if walking while working affects performance on office-work related tasks.

Purpose:

To assess differences between seated and walking conditions on motor skills and cognitive function tests.

Methods:

Eleven males (24.6 ± 3.5 y) and 9 females (27.0 ± 3.9 y) completed a test battery to assess selective attention and processing speed, typing speed, mouse clicking/drag-and-drop speed, and GRE math and reading comprehension. Testing was performed under seated and walking conditions on 2 separate days using a counterbalanced, within subjects design. Participants did not have an acclimation period before the walking condition.

Results:

Paired t tests (P < .05) revealed that in the seated condition, completion times were shorter for mouse clicking (26.6 ± 3.0 vs. 28.2 ± 2.5s) and drag-and-drop (40.3 ± 4.2 vs. 43.9 ± 2.5s) tests, typing speed was greater (40.2 ± 9.1 vs. 36.9 ± 10.2 adjusted words · min−1), and math scores were better (71.4 ± 15.2 vs. 64.3 ± 13.4%). There were no significant differences between conditions in selective attention and processing speed or in reading comprehension.

Conclusion:

Compared with the seated condition, treadmill walking caused a 6% to 11% decrease in measures of fine motor skills and math problem solving, but did not affect selective attention and processing speed or reading comprehension.

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Leslie Peacock, Allan Hewitt, David A. Rowe and Rona Sutherland

Purpose:

The study investigated (a) walking intensity (stride rate and energy expenditure) under three speed instructions; (b) associations between stride rate, age, height, and walking intensity; and (c) synchronization between stride rate and music tempo during overground walking in a population of healthy older adults.

Methods:

Twenty-nine participants completed 3 treadmill-walking trials and 3 overground-walking trials at 3 self-selected speeds. Treadmill VO2 was measured using indirect calorimetry. Stride rate and music tempo were recorded during overground-walking trials.

Results:

Mean stride rate exceeded minimum thresholds for moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) under slow (111.41 ± 11.93), medium (118.17 ± 11.43), and fast (123.79 ± 11.61) instructions. A multilevel model showed that stride rate, age, and height have a significant effect (p < .01) on walking intensity.

Conclusions:

Healthy older adults achieve MVPA with stride rates that fall below published minima for MVPA. Stride rate, age, and height are significant predictors of energy expenditure in this population. Music can be a useful way to guide walking cadence.

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Ya-Ting Yang, Yasuyuki Yoshida, Tibor Hortobágyi and Shuji Suzuki

We determined the angular range of motion and the relative timing of displacement in the thorax, lumbar spine, and pelvis in the transverse plane during treadmill walking at three velocities. Nine healthy young females walked on a treadmill for three minutes at 0.40, 0.93, and 1.47 m/s. The position of seven reflective markers and three rigs placed on the thorax, lumbar spine, and pelvis were recorded at 200 Hz by an eight-camera motion capture system. As gait velocity increased, stride length increased, cycle time decreased, and angular displacement in the thorax and L1 decreased but increased at the pelvis and L5 (all P < .05). The time of maximal angular rotation occurred in the following sequence: pelvis, L5, L3, L1, and thorax (P < .001). The thorax and L1 and L3 were in-phase for shorter duration as gait velocity increased, and this reduction was especially large, approx. 32% (P < .05), between thorax and pelvis. As gait velocity increased, the pelvis rotated earlier, causing the shortening of in-phase duration between thorax and pelvis. These data suggest that, as gait velocity increases, pelvis rotation dictates trunk rotation in the transverse plane during gait in healthy young females.