Self-monitoring Moderate-Vigorous Physical Activity Versus Steps/Day Is More Effective in Chronic Disease Exercise Programs

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PURPOSEThe effects of self-monitoring number of steps/day versus minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA/day) were compared to determine which is more effective for increasing physical activity levels.METHODSA total of 18 participants of a university-based chronic disease prevention program (age 61 ± 12 years) were enrolled in the 3-week intervention. Subjects were randomly assigned to a group (n = 8) that wore a New Lifestyles accelerometer (NL-1000) and were instructed to increase minutes of MVPA to 30 min/d or more (MIN) or to a group (n = 10) that wore a New Lifestyles pedometer (NL-800) and were instructed to increase the number of steps/day to 10,000 or more (STE). To objectively assess changes in physical activity levels, subjects in both groups simultaneously wore a Lifecorder-EX accelerometer (with display blank) during the intervention.RESULTSThe number of steps increased significantly in the MIN (10,810 ±3,211 to 13,355 ± 3,498 steps/day) and STE (11,517 ± 3,383 to 12,809 ±2,479 steps/day) from the first to fourth weeks, respectively. However, the time spent in MVPA increased significantly only in MIN group (36 ± 11 to 52 ± 15 min/d) but not in the STE group (32 ± 7 to 37 ± 11 min/d) from the first to fourth weeks, respectively.CONCLUSIONData suggest that individuals with chronic disease conditions can more effectively increase levels of physical activity, expressed as both MVPA/day and steps/day, by self-monitoring MIN rather than STE. The effect of self-monitoring physical activity levels for longer periods and/or the effect of increasing minutes of MVPA/day versus steps/day on specific health outcomes have not yet been examined.

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