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

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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 (V̇O2) 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 V̇O2 was measured. Total V̇O2 was calculated by integrating net V̇O2 over walking and recovery. Concurrent validity with steady-state V̇O2 was assessed with Pearson's correlations. Test-retest reliability was assessed using intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) and Bland-Altman analyses. Total V̇O2 was strongly correlated with steady-state V̇O2 (r=0.91-0.99), but consistently higher. Test-retest reliability of total V̇O2 (ICC=0.65-0.92) was lower than or comparable to steady-state V̇O2 (ICC=0.83-0.92), with lower reliability for shorter trials. Total V̇O2 discriminated 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
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Apr 2021


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