Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Comparison of Energy Expenditure during Walking between Female Athletes and Non-Athletes

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Comparison of Energy Expenditure during Walking between Female Athletes and Non-Athletes

Article excerpt


This study aimed to determine, if there is a difference in energy expenditure during walking among athletes and non-athletes at two different speeds of walking. Ninety five healthy female students (47 athletes and 48 non-athletes) with a mean age of 22.4 (±1.6) years purposively participated in this study. Medical and sport participation history of the subjects was acquired through a questionnaire. Two experimental tests including anthropometric measurements,VO^sub 2max^, and walking tests on treadmill at speeds of 3.00 and 3.5 mph were conducted. Results showed no difference in weight, height, body mass index, and leg length between both groups. The non-athletes expended a greater amount of energy than athletes (3.78±.1 and 2.95±.6 kcal.min^sup -1^, respectively) at both speeds of 3.00mph and 3.5mph (4.89±1 and 3.94±.7 kcal.min^sup -1^). Based on energy requirements for walking at similar weights and speeds by ACSM's guideline, the female athletes walked at a slow, moderate and brisk pace. Most of the female non-athletes walked at a moderate, brisk and very brisk pace. This study revealed that regular exercise could improve walking efficiency, and the energy expenditure of walking would play an important role in the information processing for total energy requirement that progressively affects weight management and health.

Keywords: energy expenditure, walking, female, athletes

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1. Introduction

Walking is the most common physical activity in daily life performed by both sedentary and active people. It is an easy, simple, accessible and pleasurable activity to do in order to improve fitness levels. Hence, assessing walking energy expenditure is a valid way to determine walking efficiency, control or reduce weight, body composition and fitness of individuals (Macpherson, Purcell, & Bulley, 2009; Waters & Mulroy, 1999). Moreover, many studies report significant health benefits from brisk walking (+3mph) for two or more hours per week, with greater benefits resulting from faster walking or longer durations (Krinski, Elsangedy, Krause, Timossi & Silva, 2012; Howley, 2001). Although the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommended the METs value for brisk walking on flat and hard surface at the speed of 3.0-3.5mph (3 and 4METs) as a moderate level of intensity for physical activity (ACSM, 2009), other researches revealed the energy cost of walking is higher for non-active than active adults across different walking speeds (Martin, Rothstein & Larish, 1992). In fact, an active male can successfully enhance walking efficiency, and increases endurance in walking, running and trekking not only without any harm to his health or function but also will increase his capacity to support specific effort ( Peterson & Martin, 2010).

According to McArdle et al. (2006), older adults who participate in 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week have better physical function, e.g. endurance, lower extremity strength, gait speed and balance, than older persons who are inactive or active throughout the day but do not exercise. However, even if exercise has not been a lifelong habit, researches show that adults who participate in sports and physical activity in old age have better postural ability than adults who only exercised at early age (Rose & Gamble, 2006). Similarly, Studenski, et al. (2011) reported that the best walking speed is chosen based on body abilities. Accordingly, any imbalance of these systems is likely to cause increment in physiologic penalties, or energy cost.

However, previous literatures lack sufficient sources to distinguish the difference of energy expenditure of walking among different people and specifically in women (Krinski et al., 2012). As long as people naturally walk in the manner that conserves energy at speed of 1.2 to 1.5 m.s-1 (Dal et al. 2010; Alexander, 2002), it can be promising to find if there is any significant difference in energy cost of walking for athletes and non-athletes, as active and non-active people respectively. …

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