Walking cadence: A novel strategy to improve the proportion of inactive older adults who reach the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines

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Slaght, Jana
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Problem: Only 13% of older adults reach the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (CPAG) aerobic activity recommendations. Walking cadence (steps per minute) is a strategy proposed to increase walking at the intensity recommended by the CPAG. Methods: Inactive older adults (N = 51) were instructed to walk 150 minutes per week at no specified intensity during phase 1 (6 weeks). In phase 2 (6 weeks), duration was maintained but the group one (N = 23) received instructions on how to reach moderate intensity, using a pedometer and individualized walking cadence, while group two (N = 22) did not. Results: During phase 1, MVPA time and MVPA in 10-minute bouts increased (p ≤ 0.05), and in phase 2 group one continued to increase MVPA time and time in MVPA in 10-minute bouts (p ≤ 0.01), while the group two significantly decreased (p ≤ 0.01). Discussion: Previously inactive older adults can improve time in MVPA in 10-minute bouts, as recommended by the CPAG, by using prescribed walking cadence, a pedometer to track moderate intensity, and practicing walking at this cadence.