Evaluation of inactive adults' ability to maintain a moderate-intensity walking pace

J Sci Med Sport. 2013 May;16(3):217-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2012.08.008. Epub 2012 Sep 19.


Objectives: To determine self-selected brisk walking pace in currently inactive adults and investigate the efficacy of rhythmic auditory stimuli to regulate moderate intensity walking.

Design: A single-sample controlled laboratory design.

Methods: Currently inactive adults (N=25; 76% female; age=34±13yr) completed a moderate intensity treadmill walking trial, during which cadence and steady-state O2 were measured. Participants then completed a 10-min self-paced "brisk" walk followed by a 10-min moderate-paced walk, prompted by a clip-on metronome matched to the treadmill cadence. Data were analyzed using RM t-test, Cohen's d, Bland-Altman plot, and one-way RM ANOVA.

Results: Mean energy expenditure and cadence during the treadmill trial were 3.88±0.53METs and 114±8stepsmin(-1). During self-paced brisk walking cadence was 124±8stepsmin(-1). Cadence during metronome-paced walking was slower for all participants (114±8stepsmin(-1); p<0.05, d=1.23). From the Bland-Altman plots, 23 participants walked within ±3stepsmin(-1) of the metronome cadence, and the other 2 participants were within ±10stepsmin(-1). There were no significant differences (p>0.05) among the minute-by-minute cadences across the 10min of either condition.

Conclusions: Energy expenditure during 2.7mph treadmill walking was higher than 3 METs. Inactive adults walk at a higher cadence during "brisk" walking, compared to walking at a metronome-guided moderate pace. While the natural walking pace of inactive adults was at an intensity known to produce health benefits, and was maintained for 10min, the use of rhythmic auditory feedback is an effective method for regulating walking at a prescribed intensity in inactive adults.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cues
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Walking / physiology*
  • Young Adult