Steps that count: physical activity recommendations, brisk walking, and steps per minute - how do they relate?

Pillay, Julian D. and Kolbe-Alexander, Tracy L. and Proper, Karin I. and van Mechelen, Willem and Lambert, Estelle V. (2014) Steps that count: physical activity recommendations, brisk walking, and steps per minute - how do they relate? Journal of Physical Activity and Health , 11 (3). pp. 502-508. ISSN 1543-3080


Background: Brisk walking is recommended as a form of health-enhancing physical activity. This study determines the steps/minute rate corresponding to self-paced brisk walking (SPBW); a predicted steps/minute rate for moderate physical activity (MPA) and a comparison of the 2 findings.

Methods: A convenience sample (N = 58: 34 men, 24 women, 31.7 ± 7.7yrs), wearing pedometers and a heart rate (HR) monitor, performed SPBW for 10 minutes and 5 indoor sessions, regulated by a metronome (ranging from 60–120 steps/minute). Using steps/minute and HR data of the trials, a steps/minute rate for MPA was predicted. Adjustments were subsequently made for aerobic fitness (using maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) estimates), age, and sex as possible contributors to stepping rate differences.

Results: Average steps/minute rate for SPBW was 118 ± 9 (116 ± 9; 121 ± 8 for men/women, respectively; P = .022); predicted steps/minute rate for MPA was 122 ± 37 (127 ± 36; 116 ± 39 for men/women, respectively; P < .99) and was similar to steps/minute rate of SPBW (P = .452), even after adjusting for age, sex, and aerobic fitness.

Conclusion: Steps/minute rates of SPBW correlates closely with targeted HR for MPA, independent of aerobic fitness; predicted steps/minute rate for MPA relates closely to steps/minute rates of SPBW. Findings support current PA messages that use the term brisk walking as a reference for MPA.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2017 02:51
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2017 00:10
Uncontrolled Keywords: pedometer, fitness, moderate physical activity
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health
Funding Details:
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1123/jpah.2012-0210

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