Energy cost of stepping in place while watching television commercials

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Feb;44(2):330-5. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31822d797e.


Introduction: Modifying sedentary television (TV) watching behaviors by stepping in place during commercials (TV commercial stepping) could increase physical activity and energy expenditure.

Purpose: The study's purpose was to determine the energy cost of TV commercial stepping and to quantify the amount of activity (number of steps and minutes) performed during 1 h of TV commercial stepping.

Methods: In part 1, 23 adults (27.8 ± 7.0 yr) had their energy expenditure measured at rest, sitting, standing, stepping in place, and walking at 3.0 mph on the treadmill. The second part of this study involved 1 h of sedentary TV viewing and 1 h of TV commercial stepping. Actual steps were counted with a hand tally counter.

Results: There were no differences (P = 0.76) between the caloric requirements of reclining rest (79 ± 16 kcal·h(-1)) and sedentary TV viewing (81 ± 19 kcal·h(-1)). However, stepping in place (258 ± 76 kcal·h(-1)), walking at 3.0 mph on the treadmill (304 ± 71 kcal·h(-1)), and 1 h of TV commercial stepping (148 ± 40 kcal·h(-1)) had a higher caloric requirement than either reclining rest or sedentary TV viewing (P < 0.001). One hour of TV commercial stepping resulted in an average of 25.2 ± 2.6 min of physical activity and 2111 ± 253 steps.

Conclusions: Stepping in place during commercials can increase the energy cost and amount of activity performed during TV viewing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Television*
  • Walking / physiology*
  • Young Adult