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Cadence (steps/min) and relative intensity in 61 to 85-year-olds: the CADENCE-Adults study

Abstract
Background We previously demonstrated that a heuristic (i.e., evidence-based, rounded yet practical) cadence threshold of ≥ 100 steps/min was associated with absolutely-defined moderate intensity physical activity (i.e., ≥ 3 metabolic equivalents [METs]) in older adults 61–85 years of age. Although it was difficult to ascertain achievement of absolutely-defined vigorous (6 METs) intensity, ≥ 130 steps/min was identified as a defensible threshold for this population. However, little evidence exists regarding cadence thresholds and relatively-defined moderate intensity indicators, including ≥ 64% heart rate [HR] maximum [HRmax = 220-age], ≥ 40% HR reserve [HRR = HRmax-HRresting], and ≥ 12 Borg Scale Rating of Perceived Exertion [RPE]; or vigorous intensity indicators including ≥ 77%HRmax, ≥ 60%HRR, and ≥ 14 RPE. Purpose To analyze the relationship between cadence and relatively-defined physical activity intensity and identify relatively-defined moderate and vigorous heuristic cadence thresholds for older adults 61–85 years of age. Methods Ninety-seven ostensibly healthy adults (72.7 ± 6.9 years; 49.5% women) completed up to nine 5-min treadmill walking bouts beginning at 0.5 mph (0.8 km/h) and progressing by 0.5 mph speed increments (with 2-min rest between bouts). Directly-observed (and video-recorded) steps were hand-counted, HR was measured using a chest-strapped monitor, and in the final minute of each bout, participants self-reported RPE. Segmented mixed model regression and Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analyses identified optimal cadence thresholds associated with relatively-defined moderate (≥ 64%HRmax, ≥ 40%HRR, and ≥ 12 RPE) and vigorous (≥ 77%HRmax, ≥ 60%HRR, and ≥ 14 RPE) intensities. A compromise between the two analytical methods, including Youden’s Index (a sum of sensitivity and specificity), positive and negative predictive values, and overall accuracy, yielded final heuristic cadences. Results Across all relatively-defined moderate intensity indicators, segmented regression models and ROC curve analyses identified optimal cadence thresholds ranging from 105.9 to 112.8 steps/min and 102.0-104.3 steps/min, respectively. Comparable values for vigorous intensity indicators ranged between126.1-132.1 steps/min and 106.7–116.0 steps/min, respectively. Regardless of the relatively-defined intensity indicator, the overall best heuristic cadence threshold aligned with moderate intensity was ≥ 105 steps/min. Vigorous intensity varied between ≥ 115 (greater sensitivity) or ≥ 120 (greater specificity) steps/min. Conclusions Heuristic cadence thresholds align with relatively-defined intensity indicators and can be useful for studying and prescribing older adults’ physiological response to, and/or perceived experience of, ambulatory physical activity. Trial registration Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02650258. Registered 24 December 2015.
Type
article
article
Date
2023-01-01
Publisher
Degree
Advisors
Rights
UMass Amherst Open Access Policy
License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/