Sedentary behaviour is having a major impact on the health of the public. Insufficient participation in physical activity and low fitness is associated with an increased risk of disease in both adults and children. Fitness testing in large populations is difficult as it requires expensive equipment and is difficult for the volunteer. We have developed a simple 8-minute step test for estimating individual fitness that is easy to administer and uses less expensive equipment.
The purpose of this study was to test the accuracy of the step test and one other short exercise test (walk test) for the estimation of fitness against a standard method (treadmill). In addition, we wished to test the usefulness of a test for free-living physical activity for the estimation of fitness. The treadmill test is a physically demanding test, which requires walking, jogging and maybe some running on a treadmill. It is hoped that the Step Test will offer an alternative, simpler and cheaper test to the treadmill test.
The step test is a sub-maximal exercise test which provides an estimation of VO2 peak from simple heart rate measurements. It has advantages over other forms of cardiovascular fitness testing (treadmill, cycle ergometer) as it is relatively low cost, portable and feasible as stepping is a more natural activity. The aim of this study was to test the validity of the step test currently being used in-house, and other short sub-maximal exercise tests for the estimation of VO2 peak in 200 participants (100 adults and 100 children). More specifically, the study aimed to assess the validity of the step test and a simple short walk test in various age groups including children (9-12-years), adolescents (13-18 years), adults (19-50 years) and older adults (50-65 years). The criterion method was a graded peak treadmill test (VO2peak). This included estimates of fitness which can be derived purely from routinely available information collected during free-living monitoring.
Field work completed. Processing of data and method development is in progress in order to facilitate analysis and publication.
Unit led with responsibility for data.
MRC core funded.