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Estimating Energy Expenditure during Level, Uphill, and Downhill Walking

LOONEY, DAVID P.1; SANTEE, WILLIAM R.1,2; HANSEN, ERIC O.1,2; BONVENTRE, PETER J.3; CHALMERS, CHRISTOPHER R.1,2; POTTER, ADAM W.1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: September 2019 - Volume 51 - Issue 9 - p 1954–1960
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002002
APPLIED SCIENCES
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Introduction The load carriage decision aid (LCDA) walking equation was developed from literature-aggregated group mean data to calculate standing and level walking energy expenditures in healthy, military-age adults. The LCDA walking equation has not been validated for use in individuals or graded walking.

Purpose We aimed to validate the LCDA walking equation as a predictor of standing and level walking energy expenditure in individuals and expand to a new graded walking equation for uphill and downhill walking.

Methods We compiled standing, level walking, and graded walking energy expenditures measured in 95 participants from 11 studies. Walking speeds reached up to 1.96 m·s−1 with grades ranging between −40% and 45%. The LCDA walking equation was validated against the aggregated standing and level walking data. The new LCDA graded walking equation was developed and cross-validated on the graded walking trials. We compared each equation against four reference predictive equations with the standard error of estimation (SEE) as the primary criterion.

Results The LCDA walking equation accurately estimated standing and level walking energy expenditure (bias, −0.02 ± 0.20 W·kg−1; SEE, 0.20 W·kg−1). Addition of the novel grade term resulted in precise estimates of uphill and downhill walking energy expenditure (bias, 0.09 ± 0.40 W·kg−1; SEE, 0.42 W·kg−1).

Conclusions The LCDA walking equation is a valid predictor of standing and walking energy expenditure in healthy, military-age individuals. We developed a novel grade term for estimating both uphill and downhill walking energy expenditure with a single equation. Practitioners can use the new LCDA graded walking equation to calculate energy expenditure during standing as well as walking on level, uphill, and downhill slopes.

1United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA

2Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Oak Ridge, TN

3Department of Mathematics, University of Kentucky Lexington, KY

Address for correspondence: David P. Looney, Ph.D., United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine 10 General Greene Avenue Natick, MA 01760; E-mail: david.looney.usa@gmail.com.

Submitted for publication September 2018.

Accepted for publication March 2019.

Online date: April 10, 2019

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine