Validation of StepTest4all for Assessing Cardiovascular Capacity in Young Adults uri icon


  • Background: Cardiovascular capacity, expressed as maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), is a strong predictor of health and fitness and is considered a key measure of physiological function in the healthy adult population. The purpose of this study was to validate a specific step test (StepTest4all) as an adequate procedure to estimate cardiovascular capacity in young adults. Methods: The sample was composed of 56 participants, including 19 women (aged 21.05 2.39 years, body mass = 57.50 6.64 kg, height = 1.62 0.05 m, body mass index = 22.00 2.92 kg/m2) and 37 men (aged 22.05 3.14 years, body mass = 72.50 7.73 kg, height = 1.76 0.07 m, body mass index = 23.34 2.17 kg/m2). Participants were included in one of the following groups: (i) the group used to predict the VO2max, and (ii) the group used to validate the prediction model. All participants performed the StepTest4all protocol. The step height and the intensity of the effort was determined individually. Heart rate and oxygen uptake were measured continuously during rest, effort, and recovery phases. The validation process included the following three stages: (i) mean data comparison, (ii) simple linear regression, and (iii) Bland–Altman analysis. Results: The linear regression retained, as significant predictors of the VO2max, sex (p < 0.001) and heart rate recovery for one minute (p = 0.003). The prediction equation revealed a high relationship between measurements (R2 = 63.0%, SEE = 5.58). The validation procedure revealed non-significant differences (p > 0.05) between the measured and estimated maximal oxygen uptake, high relationship (R2 = 63.3%), and high agreement with Bland–Altman plots. Thus, VO2max can be estimated with the formula: VO2max = 22 + 0.3 (HRR1min) + 12 (sex), where HRR1min is the magnitude of the HR decrease (bpm) in one minute immediately after the step was stopped, and sex: men = 1, women = 0. Conclusions: The StepTest4all is an adequate procedure to estimate cardiovascular capacity, expressed as VO2max, in young adults. In addition, it is possible to determine the qualitative level of cardiovascular capacity from the heart rate recovery for one minute, more specifically, poor: <20, moderate: 20 to 34, good: 35 to 49, and excellent: 50. This procedure has the benefit of being simple to apply and can be used by everyone, even at home, without specialist supervision.
  • This research was funded by the Project “GreenHealth-Digital Strategies in biological assets to improve well-being and promote green health” (Norte-01-0145-FEDER-000042), supported by the Regional Operational Program of Northern Portugal (NORTE 2020), under the PORTUGAL 2020 Partnership Agreement”. This research was supported by Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, I. P. (project UIDB/DTP/04045/2020)”.

publication date

  • September 2022