Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-13-2019


Physical activity and exercise are powerful means by which to preserve physical function, and stave off mobility loss, morbidity and mortality. Historically, physical activity (PA) interventions have been structured around the national guidelines for PA and exercise. However, some populations such as older adults and those with chronic disease and mobility limitations may find these recommendations too rigorous or daunting. Consequently, they tend to spend more time engaged in sedentary behaviors that further exacerbate the already detrimental effects of age and chronic disease. PA interventions that serve to bridge the gap between sedentary behavior and exercise are needed as our population ages and more individuals are suffering the effects of, and living longer with, diseases that can potentially reduce their quality of life and affect their ability to live independently. The MY Health Study was a randomized controlled trial targeting sedentary behavior (SB) among older cancer survivors and was designed to break up SB with light intensity physical activity such as standing and light stepping. The goals of the MY Health study were to 1) increase average daily steps by 3000 above baseline and 2) break up sedentary behavior approximately 1-2 times per hour during most waking hours. There were no specific recommendations as to the intensity or duration for which participants were to achieve these goals. This was a secondary analyses, the purpose of which was to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention on improving free-living walking cadence and time spent engaged in ambulatory activities associated with purposeful movement and higher intensity walking. Despite results suggesting that the majority of participants within the Intervention group did not increase their average daily steps above 3000 (median increase: 976; IQR: -388-3532), there is evidence suggesting that, compared with controls, participants within the Intervention group self-selected to walk faster, thereby increasing their intensity of ambulation. These findings may have important clinical implications as both duration (quantity of physical activity) and intensity (quality of ambulation) have shown to offer cardioprotective and other health-related benefits.


Walking cadence, physical activity, intervention, activity monitor, cancer survivor

Document Type




Degree Name

Physical Education, Sports and Exercise Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Ann L. Gibson

Second Committee Member

Cindy K. Blair

Third Committee Member

Huining Kang

Fourth Committee Member

Micah N. Zuhl