Walking and running economy: Inverse association with peak oxygen uptake

Brandon J. Sawyer, Jason R. Blessinger, Brian A. Irving, Arthur Weltman, James T. Patrie, Glenn A. Gaesser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that V̇O2peak is positively correlated with the regression coefficients of the curve-linear relationship between V̇O2 and speed during a protocol consisting of submaximal walking and running. Methods: Nineteen healthy men (mean ± SD: age = 26.4 ± 6.4 yr, height = 179.9 ± 7.2 cm, weight = 77.7 ± 8.7 kg, % fat = 16.3 ± 7.3) and 21 healthy women (age = 25.6 ± 4.9 yr, height = 167.2 ± 5.4 cm, weight = 61.6 ± 7.7 kg, % fat = 24.0 ± 6.8) underwent an incremental treadmill test to determine V̇O2peak and on two separate days performed an exercise protocol consisting of treadmill walking on a level grade at 2.0 mph (54 mmin), 3.0 mph (80 mmin), and 4.0 mph (107 mmin) and running at 6.0 mph (161 mmin). Subjects exercised for 5 min at each velocity, with 3 min of rest in between each exercise bout. Pulmonary ventilation (V̇E) and gas exchange were measured breath-by-breath each minute. The average of V̇O2 values obtained during the last 2 min of exercise for both exercise sessions was used in polynomial random coefficient regression analysis. Results: In the polynomial random coefficient regression analysis for walking speeds only, both linear (r = 0.31, P = 0.053) and quadratic (r = 0.35, P = 0.029) coefficients were modestly correlated with V̇O2peak. Steady-state V̇O2 during walking at 3.0 and 4.0 mph and running at 6.0 mph was also modestly correlated with V̇O 2peak (r = 0.30-0.48). Conclusions: The results confirm our hypothesis and suggest that, as walking speed increases, the increase in V̇O2 is positively correlated with the V̇O2peak. Our findings are consistent with the notion that cardiorespiratory fitness and exercise economy are inversely related.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2122-2127
Number of pages6
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Efficiency
  • aerobic capacity
  • exercise
  • fitness
  • quadratic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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