Does the use of outdoor fitness equipment by older adults qualify as moderate to vigorous physical activity?

Hsueh wen Chow, Chia Hua Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the rapid worldwide expansion of parks with outdoor fitness equipment (OFE), no objective data regarding the intensity of activity associated with using OFE are available. Hence, this study quantified the energy expenditure and intensity of physical activity by examining four outdoor fitness devices widely used by older adults and provides objective evidence-based intensity references for the Compendium of Physical Activities. Sixteen older adults (mean age: 70.7 ± 5.6 yr) equipped with a portable metabolic system for measuring energy expenditure and activity intensity completed tasks while walking or using four types of OFE. Descriptive statistics and repeated-measures ANOVA with the Bonferroni post hoc test were employed. The energy expenditure and activity intensity for using an air walker at tempos of 80, 100, and 120 bpm were 50.78 ± 14.76 (2.81 ± 0.85), 59.62 ± 14.23 (3.26 ± 0.82), and 65.62 ± 18.27 (3.55 ± 1.02) cal/kg/min (METs), respectively. The induced energy and intensity output values for a ski machine were 54.00 ± 14.31 (3.02 ± 0.87), 68.87 ± 22.74 (3.82 ± 1.35), and 74.55 ± 23.39 (4.05 ± 1.35) cal/kg/min (METs), at 80, 100, and 120 bpm, respectively. The energy output for a waist twister at 60 bpm was 38.43 ± 20.16 cal/kg/min (2.05 ± 1.15 METs), and that for a double arm stretch at 80 bpm was 31.05 ± 12.58 cal/kg/min (1.63 ± 0.70 METs). These findings indicate that activity on the ski machine and air walker could be considered to have moderate intensity, whereas the intensity of activity on the waist twister and double arm stretch was significantly lower than that for walking at either 3.2 km/h or 4 km/h and could be considered only light intensity. The MET values for the OFE were lower than those for similar indoor fitness equipment. The results of this study provide crucial implications for public health practices concerning the development of active living environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0196507
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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