A comparison of energy expenditure estimates from the Actiheart and Actical physical activity monitors during low intensity activities, walking, and jogging

Abstract

Combining accelerometry with heart rate monitoring has been suggested to improve energy estimates, however, it remains unclear whether the single, currently existing commercially available device combining these data streams (Actiheart) provides improved energy estimates compared to simpler and less expensive accelerometry-only devices. The purpose of this study was to compare the validity of the heart rate (HR), accelerometry (ACC), and combined ACC/HR estimates of the Actiheart to the ACC estimates of the Actical during low and moderate intensity activities. Twenty-seven participants (mean age 26.3 ± 7.3) wore an Actical, Actiheart and indirect calorimeter (K4b2) while performing card playing, sweeping, lifting weights, walking and jogging activities. All estimates tended to underestimate energy, sometimes by substantial amounts. Viewed across all activities studied, there was no significant difference in the ability of the waist-mounted Actical and torso-mounted Actiheart (ACC, HR, ACC/HR) estimates to predict energy expenditure. However, the Actiheart provided significantly better estimates than the Actical for the activities in which acceleration of the pelvis is not closely related to energy expenditure (card playing, sweeping, lifting weights) and the Actical provided significantly better estimates for level walking and level jogging. Similar to a previous study, the ACC component of the Actiheart was found to be the weakest predictor of energy suggesting it may be responsible for the failure of the combined ACC/HR estimate to equal or better the estimates derived solely from a waist mounted ACC device.

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Acknowledgments

The authors of this manuscript certify that all experiments conducted during this study were in compliance with the current laws of the USA.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to David K. Spierer.

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Communicated by Klaas Westerterp.

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Spierer, D.K., Hagins, M., Rundle, A. et al. A comparison of energy expenditure estimates from the Actiheart and Actical physical activity monitors during low intensity activities, walking, and jogging. Eur J Appl Physiol 111, 659–667 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-010-1672-7

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Keywords

  • Heart rate
  • Accelerometry
  • Indirect calorimetry
  • Energy expenditure
  • Activity