Previous research has reported peak vertical acceleration and peak loading rate thresholds beneficial to bone mineral density (BMD). Such thresholds are difficult to translate into meaningful recommendations for physical activity. Cadence (steps/min) is a more readily interpretable measure of ambulatory activity.
To examine relationships between cadence, peak vertical acceleration and peak loading rate during ambulation and identify the cadence associated with previously reported bone-beneficial thresholds for peak vertical acceleration (4.9 g) and peak loading rate (43 BW/s).
Ten participants completed 8 trials each of: slow walking, brisk walking, slow running, and fast running. Acceleration data were captured using a GT3×+ accelerometer worn at the hip. Peak loading rate was collected via a force plate.
Strong relationships were identified between cadence and peak vertical acceleration (r = .96, P < .05) and peak loading rate (r = .98, P < .05). Regression analyses indicated cadences of 157 ± 12 steps/min (2.6 ± 0.2 steps/s) and 122 ± 10 steps/min (2.0 ± 0.2 steps/s) corresponded with the 4.9 g peak vertical acceleration and 43 BW/s peak loading rate thresholds, respectively.
Cadences ≥ 2.0 to 2.6 steps/s equate to acceleration and loading rate thresholds related to bone health. Further research is needed to investigate whether the frequency of daily occurrences of this cadence is associated with BMD.