Effects of walking speed and step frequency on estimation of physical activity using accelerometers

Jonghoon Park, Kazuko Ishikawa-Takata, Shigeho Tanaka, Yuko Mekata, Izumi Tabata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


This study evaluated the accuracy of assessing step counts and energy costs under walking conditions altered by step frequency changes at given speeds using uni- (LC) and tri-axial accelerometers (AM, ASP). Healthy young men and women (n=18) volunteered as subjects. Nine tests were designed to manipulate three step frequencies, low (-15% of normal), normal, and high (+15%), at each walking speed (55, 75, and 95 m/min). A facemask connected to a Douglas bag was attached to subjects, who wore accelerometers around their waist. LC underestimated the step counts at normal or high step frequency at 55 m/min and AM also at all step frequencies at 55 m/min, whereas ASP did not in all trials. LC underestimated metabolic equivalents (METs) at low or normal step frequency at all walking speeds. AM underestimated METs at low step frequency at all walking speeds and at high step frequency of 95 m/min. ASP gave underestimates only at low step frequency of 95 m/min. The degree of the percentage error of METs for AM and ASP was affected by step frequency. Significant interaction between step frequency and speed was found that for LC. These results suggest that LC and AM can cause errors in step-count functions at a low walking speed. Furthermore, LC may show low accuracy of the METs measurement during walking altered according to step frequency and speed, whereas AM and ASP, which are tri-axial accelerometers, are more accurate but the degree of the percentage error is affected by step frequency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physiological Anthropology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerometers
  • Energy costs
  • Step counts
  • Step frequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Anthropology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of walking speed and step frequency on estimation of physical activity using accelerometers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this