Estimation of Metabolic Energy Expenditure during Short Walking Bouts

Ilse Johanna Blokland*, Jos J. De Koning, Thomas Van Kan, Coen A.M. Van Bennekom, Jaap H. Van Dieen, Han Houdijk

*Corresponding author for this work

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Assessment of metabolic energy expenditure from indirect calorimetry is currently limited to sustained (>4 min) cyclic activities, because of steady-state requirements. This is problematic for patient populations who are unable to perform such sustained activities. Therefore, this study explores validity and reliability of a method estimating metabolic energy expenditure based on oxygen consumption (V˙O 2) during short walking bouts. Twelve able-bodied adults twice performed six treadmill walking trials (1, 2 and 6 min at 4 and 5 km/h), while V˙O 2was measured. Total V˙O 2was calculated by integrating net V˙O 2over walking and recovery. Concurrent validity with steady-state V˙O 2was assessed with Pearson's correlations. Test-retest reliability was assessed using intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) and Bland-Altman analyses. Total V˙O 2was strongly correlated with steady-state V˙O 2(r=0.91-0.99), but consistently higher. Test-retest reliability of total V˙O 2(ICC=0.65-0.92) was lower than or comparable to steady-state V˙O 2(ICC=0.83-0.92), with lower reliability for shorter trials. Total V˙O 2discriminated between gait speeds. Total oxygen uptake provides a useful measure to estimate metabolic load of short activities from oxygen consumption. Although estimates are less reliable than steady-state measurements, they can provide insight in the yet unknown metabolic demands of daily activities for patient populations unable to perform sustained activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1098-1104
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number12
Early online date16 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Georg Thieme Verlag. All rights reserved.


  • aerobic load
  • oxygen uptake
  • oxygen uptake kinetics
  • steady state
  • test-retest reliability
  • validity


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