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Clin Interv Aging. 2013;8:501-8. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S42224. Epub 2013 Apr 30.

Pilot study: can older inactive adults learn how to reach the required intensity of physical activity guideline?

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  • 1University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.


Most individuals do not reach the recommended physical activity level of at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise (AE) at moderate-to-vigorous intensity per week. For example, only 13% of older Canadian adults reach World Health Organization physical activity guideline (PAG). One of the reasons might be a difficulty identifying the required intensity. Twenty-five inactive older adults received one session about the AE-PAG and how to use a tool or strategy to help them identify AE intensity: heart-rate (HR) monitor (% of maximal HR; N = 9); manual pulse (% of maximal HR; N = 8); or pedometer (walking cadence; N = 8). Participants had 8 weeks to implement their specific tool with the aim of reaching the PAG by walking at home. At pre- and post-intervention, the capacity to identify AE intensity and AE time spent at moderate-to-vigorous intensity were evaluated. Only the two groups using a tool increased total AE time (both P < 0.01), but no group improved the time spent at moderate-to-vigorous intensity. No significant improvement was observed in the ability to correctly identify AE intensity in any of the groups, but a tendency was observed in the pedometer group (P = 0.07). Using walking cadence with a pedometer should be explored as a tool to reach the PAG as it is inexpensive, easy to use, and seemed the best tool to improve both AE time and perception of intensity.


aerobic exercise; aging; pacing

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