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Br J Sports Med. 1997 Sep;31(3):235-9.

Energy expenditure estimates of the Caltrac accelerometer for running, race walking, and stepping.

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Department of Exercise Science and Physical Education, Arizona State University, Tempe 85287-0701, USA.



To examine the accuracy of the Caltrac accelerometer for estimating energy expenditure (EE) during three exercise modes.


A subset of 31 women (mean (SEM) age 22.6 (5) years) as selected from a training study comparing various physiological parameters during race walking, running, and stepping. Subjects each performed mode specific graded exercise tests to peak VO2. Regression equations for VO2 v heart rate (HR) were generated from each individual's test data. EE (kcal and kJ) was estimated for each VO2 value based on the respiratory exchange ratio, and kcal v HR regression equations were generated to predict EE from each subject's HR data (EE-HR). HR in the field was monitored by telemetry, and two Caltrac monitors, one set for EE and one to give counts, were attached to a belt over opposite hips.


EE-HR was not significantly different across exercise modes. Caltrac overestimated EE (P < 0.01) in runners (14%) and walkers (19%) but underestimated EE in steppers by about 10% (P = 0.12).


The Caltrac is a reliable instrument but it did not accurately distinguish EE in running, race walking, or stepping in a group of young women.

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