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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Nov;43(11):2189-94. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31821e4ff2.

Incidental physical activity is positively associated with cardiorespiratory fitness.

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School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Erratum in

  • Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Mar;44(3):562.



The primary aim was to determine whether incidental physical activity (IPA), expressed either as duration or intensity, was associated with cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF).


Participants were inactive abdominally obese men (n = 43, waist circumference ≥ 102 cm) and women (n = 92, waist circumference ≥ 88 cm) recruited from Kingston, Canada. IPA (>100 counts per minute) was determined by accelerometry during 7 d and categorized into duration (min·d(-1)) and intensity (counts per minute). In secondary analyses, IPA was further categorized as light physical activity (LPA, 100-1951 counts per minute) and sporadic moderate physical activity (MPA, ≥ 1952 counts per minute accumulated in bouts <10 consecutive minutes). CRF was assessed using a maximal treadmill exercise test.


Participants accumulated 308.2 ± 98.8 (mean ± SD) min of IPA per day of which 19.2 ± 13.5 min was spent in sporadic MPA. Mean CRF was 26.8 ± 4.7 mL·kg(-1) body weight·min(-1). IPA duration was positively associated with CRF in the univariate model (r2 = 0.03, P < 0.05) and after control for gender and body mass index (r2 = 0.53, P < 0.01). Likewise, IPA intensity was positively associated with CRF in univariate (r2 = 0.18, P < 0.001) and multivariate analyses (r2 = 0.56, P < 0.01). After further control for each other, IPA duration was not associated with CRF (P = 0.05), whereas IPA intensity remained a significant predictor (r2 = 0.57, P < 0.001). In secondary analyses, LPA was not associated with CRF (P > 0.05). Sporadic MPA was associated with CRF (r2 = 0.20, P < 0.001) and remained a positive correlate after control for gender, body mass index, and the other physical activity variables (r2 = 0.60, P < 0.001).


In this study, both duration and intensity of IPA were positively associated with CRF among inactive abdominally obese adults. Sporadic MPA, but not LPA, was an independent predictor of CRF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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