Background: Stepper movement is popular as a home-based exercise. However, it has not been fully investigated how much energy is consumed during movement. This study aimed to investigate oxygen consumption for stepper movements at different cadence levels and to look into whether there are correlations between stepper movement and treadmill walking.
Methods: Twenty two healthy volunteers (10 males, 12 females, aged between 18 and 40) participated in the study. The participants randomly performed stepper movements and treadmill walking at three different cadences, a self-determined comfortable cadence, a 20% higher and a 20% lower ones than the comfortable one. Their oxygen consumption was measured using Oxycon mobile® system. A set of parameters, e.g. VO2, Metabolic unit, Energy expenditure, etc were obtained. Statistical analysis was carried out to investigate correlations between stepper and treadmill movements in terms of oxygen consumptions.
Results: Strong correlations were found between two types of movements, most of metabolic parameters had correlation coefficients ranged proximately between 0.5 to 0.8, p<0.001, e.g. 0.789 for VO2, 0.790 for energy consumption, 0.826 for ventilation, all p<0.001. In the conformable cadence level, VO2 for stepper movements was 826.49±56.02 (ml/min) while VO2 for treadmill walking was 787.16±56.02. Usually, stepper movements have oxygen consumption similar to or slightly higher than that in treadmill walking.
Conclusions: This study indicates that stepper movement has similar oxygen consumption level to treadmill at a comfortable cadence level and at a 20% higher than the comfortable one, but stepper movement consumes more energy than treadmill walking by approximately 10% at lower cadence (i.e. 20% lower than the comfortable one). The study shows that the stepper movements is highly correlated with treadmill walking in terms of oxygen consumption, and thus stepper movement data provided may be used to predict the treadmill data in rehabilitation in the future.