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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Clinical Sciences: Clinically Relevant

Influence of walking volume on health benefits in women post-menopause

READY, A. ELIZABETH; NAIMARK, BARBARA; DUCAS, JOHN; SAWATZKY, JO-ANN V.; BORESKIE, SUZANNE L.; DRINKWATER, DONALD T.; OOSTERVEEN, SYLVIA

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Abstract

The health benefits of physical activity are believed to be related more to exercise volume than to intensity. In this 24-wk study, we examined the effect of walking volume on aerobic fitness, serum lipids, and body composition in women post-menopause, a population at risk for coronary artery disease. Of 79 women randomly assigned to groups at the outset, 56 completed the study (mean age 61.3 ± 5.8). Participants walked at an intensity of 60% peak oxygen uptake (˙VO2peak) for 60 min, 3 d·wk-1 (N = 19) or 5 d·wk-1 (N = 17), or remained sedentary(N = 20). Walking 3 or 5 d·wk-1 increased˙VO2peak (ml·kg-1·min-1) by 12% and 14%, respectively (P < 0.01). There were no changes in serum lipids in response to either program. Percent body fat decreased by 1.1% and 1.3% in those walking 3 and 5 d·wk-1, respectively; both changes significantly different from the control group (P < 0.05). Walking 5 d·wk-1 did not result in more health benefits than 3 d·wk-1, possibly due to a greater compensatory decline in activities other than the walking program, or greater discrepancies between actual and reported activity and food intake. Longer-duration programs, or simultaneous changes in diet, may be necessary to alter serum lipids in nonobese, normo-lipidemic women post-menopause.

©1996The American College of Sports Medicine

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