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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2454;

Step Rate Thresholds Associated with Moderate and Vigorous Physical Activity in Adults

Centre of Lifestyle Studies, School of Kinesiology, Acadia University, 15 University Ave., Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6, Canada
Division of Kinesiology, School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 August 2018 / Revised: 25 October 2018 / Accepted: 1 November 2018 / Published: 3 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Physical Activity and Public Health)
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Adults are recommended to engage in 150 min of moderate (MPA) to vigorous (VPA) aerobic physical activity per week, with the public health message of obtaining 3000 steps in 30 min. There is a paucity of research on step rate thresholds that correspond to absolute MVPA (moderate = 3 METs, vigorous = 6 METs) with no research evaluating adult relative MVPA (moderate = 40% VO2max, vigorous = 60% VO2max). Anthropometric differences also influence intensity-related step rate thresholds. The purpose of this study was to identify step rates across a range of walking intensities so that mathematical models incorporating anthropometric factors could be used to identify individualized MVPA step rate thresholds. Forty-three adults (25♀; age = 39.4 ± 15.2 years) completed a staged treadmill walking protocol with pedometers and indirect calorimetry: six-minutes at 2.4, 3.2, 4.0, 5.6, 6.4, 7.2 km/h. Mathematical modelling revealed absolute and relative MPA step rate thresholds of ~100 steps/minute (spm) and ~125 spm, respectively. VPA corresponded to step rates of ~133 spm and ~139 spm for absolute and relative thresholds respectively. The current public message of 3000 steps in 30 min is valid for absolute MPA. However, VPA is achieved at higher thresholds than previously reported, more than 130 spm for healthy adults. View Full-Text
Keywords: step rate; relative intensity; absolute intensity; walking step rate; relative intensity; absolute intensity; walking

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O’Brien, M.W.; Kivell, M.J.; Wojcik, W.R.; D’Entremont, G.; Kimmerly, D.S.; Fowles, J.R. Step Rate Thresholds Associated with Moderate and Vigorous Physical Activity in Adults. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2454.

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