Preliminary comparison of clinical and free-living measures of stepping cadence in older adults

Catrine Tudor-Locke, Tiago V. Barreira, Robert M. Brouillette, Heather C. Foil, Jeffrey N. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: The relationship between clinically assessed and free-living walking is unclear. Cadence (steps/ min) can be measured accurately under both conditions using modern technologies, thus providing a common measurement metric. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare clinical and free-living cadence in older adults. Methods: 15 community-dwelling older adults (7 men, 8 women; 61-81 years) completed GAITRite-determined normal and dual-task walks and wore objective monitors for 1 week. Descriptive data included gait speed (cm/sec), steps/day, as well as cadence. Nonparametric tests evaluated differences between normal and dual-task walks and between accelerometer- and pedometer-determined steps/day. Free-living time detected above clinically determined cadence was calculated. Results: Participants crossed the GAITRite at 125.56 ± 15.51 cm/sec (men) and 107.93 ± 9.41 steps/min (women) during their normal walk and at 112.59 ± 17.90 cm/sec and 103.10 ± 1.30 steps/min during their dual-task walk (differences between walks P < .05). Overall, they averaged 7159 ± 2480 (accelerometer) and 7813 ± 2919 steps/day (pedometer; difference NS). On average, < 10 min/day was spent above clinically determined cadences. Conclusions: High-functioning, community-dwelling older adults are capable of walking at relatively high cadences (ie, > 100 steps/min). However, the same behavior appears to be uncommon in daily life, even for a minute.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1175-1180
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerometry
  • Exercise
  • Pedometry
  • Physical activity
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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