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Pedometer Accuracy and Metabolic Cost in Elementary School Children While Walking, Skipping, Galloping, and Sliding

John D. Smith, Cynthia Schroeder, Rosalyn M. Smith


Pedometers are commonly used instruments that measure activity in children. While pedometers were designed to measure activity during walking, children often engage in other locomotor movements, such as skipping, galloping, and sliding. This study assessed the accuracy of two pedometers in children performing these movements and quantified the metabolic cost of these movements. Fifty-three children performed these movements on a motorized treadmill for 3 min at 67 m/min and again at 80.5 m/min. Pedometers were most accurate during walking and least accurate during skipping. Pedometers also tended to underestimate step counts during skipping, galloping, and sliding. Skipping, galloping, and sliding elicited greater metabolic cost compared to walking at the same speeds. In the context of teaching a physical education class, pedometer counts across these locomotor patterns could be used as a proxy measure of metabolic cost. Physical educators can use this information when assessing activity in PE classes that incorporate these kinds of locomotor movements.

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Physical Activity; Physical Education; Locomotor Skill; Pedometer; Step Counter

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