A comparison of field methods to assess cardiorespiratory fitness among neophyte exercisers

Karen D'Alonzo, Kate Marbach, Linda Vincent

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12 Scopus citations


There is evidence to suggest that aerobic fitness levels among adults have declined markedly over the past 2 to 3 decades. Submaximal field measures of aerobic fitness, such as step tests, may now be seen as aversive by contemporary neophyte exercisers. In this study, a single-factor within-subjects (repeated measures) factorial design was used to compare three field measures of cardiorespiratory fitness among sedentary women: (a) the Queen's College step test (QCST), (b) the Rockport 1-mile walk (RW), and (c) a nonexercise estimation of VO2 max (NE). The sample consisted of 31 racially and ethnically diverse female college students (mean age of 24.8 years). No significant within-subjects differences were found in the three measures of V02 max (F = 1.89, p =.17) among Black, Hispanic, White non-Hispanic, or Asian women, but relative perceived exertion scores were significantly higher for the QCST than for the RW (t = 9.79, p <.001) for all groups. The mean calculated VO2 max for the QCST was 35.90 ml/kg/min for the subset of women ages 18 to 25 and 31.85 for those ages 26 to 46. These values represent a "poor" to "below average" score for aerobic capacity among women in both age groups. Data from this preliminary study suggest that both the RW test and the NE test are comparable to the QCST as valid and reliable field measures of aerobic fitness and appear to be good alternatives to step testing among sedentary individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Research for Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Research and Theory


  • Aerobic fitness
  • Exercise testing
  • Step tests
  • Within-subjects factorial design

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