StepWatch accuracy during walking, running, and intermittent activities

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The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) to investigate effects of cadence and sensitivity settings for the StepWatch (SW3) on step count accuracy over a wide range of ambulatory speeds, and 2) to compare the preprogrammed “quick start” settings to modified settings during intermittent lifestyle activities.


Part 1: Fifteen participants (18–57 years of age) performed two trials of treadmill walking and running at ten speeds ranging from 26.8 to 268 m min−1 while wearing four SW3 devices. During the first trial, the cadence setting was maintained while sensitivity was varied; in the second trial sensitivity was maintained while the cadence setting was varied. Part 2: Fifteen participants performed four intermittent activities and drove an automobile while wearing two SW3 devices, one with preprogrammed settings and the other with the modified settings determined in Part 1.


Part 1: The modified settings (cadence setting of 70% of default and sensitivity of 16) provided the greatest step counting accuracy across a wide range of speeds reporting 96.0–104% of actual steps between 53.6 and 268 m min−1. Part 2: The preprogrammed settings tended to have higher accuracy for light household tasks (recording 88% to 94% of actual steps) than the modified settings (recording 82% to 86% of actual steps) which showed a trend towards higher accuracy for tennis (recording 93% vs. 89% of actual steps) (p < 0.05).


The preprogrammed “quick start” StepWatch settings should be used with individuals who do not engage in running and vigorous sports. However, for individuals who engage in running and tennis, use of modified settings may result in improved step counting accuracy.

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Gait & Posture



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In Copyright