A1 Journal article (refereed)
Aerobic Capacity Determines Habitual Walking Acceleration, Not Electromyography-Indicated Relative Effort (2022)

Pesola, A. J., Rantalainen, T., Gao, Y., & Finni, T. (2022). Aerobic Capacity Determines Habitual Walking Acceleration, Not Electromyography-Indicated Relative Effort. Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour, 5(1), 32-41. https://doi.org/10.1123/jmpb.2021-0018

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Pesola, Arto J.; Rantalainen, Timo; Gao, Ying; Finni, Taija

Journal or series: Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour

ISSN: 2575-6605

eISSN: 2575-6613

Publication year: 2022

Volume: 5

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 32-41

Publisher: Human Kinetics Publishers

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1123/jmpb.2021-0018

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel


Objective: Habitual walking is important for health and can be measured with accelerometry, but accelerometry does not measure physiological effort relative to capacity. We compared accelerometer-measured absolute intensity and electromyography (EMG)-measured relative muscle activity between people with low versus excellent aerobic fitness levels during their habitual walking.
Methods: Forty volunteers (19 women; age 49.3 ± 17.1 years, body mass index 24.0 ± 2.6 kg/m2; peak oxygen uptake 40.3 ± 12.5 ml/kg/min) wore EMG-shorts and a hip-worn accelerometer simultaneously for 11.6 ± 2.2 hr on 1.7 ± 1.1 days. Continuous gait bouts of at least 5-min duration were identified based on acceleration mean amplitude deviation (MAD, in milli gravitational acceleration, mg) and mean EMG amplitude, with EMG normalized to maximal isometric knee extension and flexion (EMG, in percentage of maximal voluntary contraction EMG). Peak oxygen uptake was measured on a treadmill and maximal strength in isometric leg press (leg press max). MAD and EMG were compared between age- and sex-specific fitness groups (low-average, good, and excellent) and in linear models.
Results: During habitual walking bouts (4.1 ± 4.1 bouts/day, 0.9 ± 1.0 min/bout), the low-average fit participants had an approximately 28% lower MAD (245 ± 64.3 mg) compared with both good fit and excellent fit participants (313 ± 68.1 mg, p < .05), but EMG was the same (13.1% ± 8.42% maximal voluntary contraction EMG, p = .10). Absolute, relative to body mass, and relative to skeletal muscle mass peak oxygen uptake (but not leg press max) was positively associated with MAD independent of age and sex (p < .01), but there were no associations with EMG.
Conclusions: People with low-average aerobic capacity habitually walk with a lower accelerometer-measured absolute intensity, but the physiological stimulus for lower-extremity muscles is similar to those with excellent aerobic capacity. This should be considered when measuring and prescribing walking for health.

Keywords: walking (motion); steps; physical activeness; muscle activity; aerobic capacity; pedometers

Free keywords: gait; accelerometer; muscle activity; wearable; aerobic fitness; physical activity

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-19-08 at 20:17