Stride rate and walking intensity in healthy older adults

Peacock, Leslie and Hewitt, Allan and Rowe, David and Sutherland, Rona (2013) Stride rate and walking intensity in healthy older adults. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. ISSN 1063-8652

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Purpose: The study investigated a) walking intensity (stride rate and energy expenditure) under three speed instructions, b) associations between stride rate, age, height and walking intensity, and c) synchronization between stride rate and music tempo during overground walking in a population of healthy older adults. Methods: Twenty-nine participants completed three treadmill walking trials and three overground walking trials at three self-selected speeds. Treadmill ̇O2 was measured using indirect calorimetry. Stride rate and music tempo were recorded during overground walking trials. Results: Mean stride rate exceeded minimum thresholds for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) under slow (111.41 ± 11.93), medium (118.17 ± 11.43) and fast (123.79 ± 11.61) instructions.. A multilevel model showed that stride rate, age and height have a significant effect (p < 0.01) on walking intensity. Conclusions: Healthy older adults achieve MVPA with stride rates that fall below published minima for MVPA. Stride rate, age and height are significant predictors of energy expenditure in this population. Music can be a useful way to guide walking cadence.