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Is functional capacity related to the daily amount of steps in postmenopausal women?

Barbat-Artigas, Sébastien MSc1; Plouffe, Stéphanie BSc(c)1; Dupontgand, Sophie MSc1,2; Aubertin-Leheudre, Mylène PhD1,3

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318238ef09
Original Articles

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between functional capacity, muscle function, and daily step count in postmenopausal women.

Methods: Fifty-seven postmenopausal women aged 50 to 70 years were recruited. Body composition (body weight, body mass index, fat mass, and skeletal muscle mass), energetic metabolism (maximal oxygen consumption, total energy expenditure, daily step count), and functional capacity (muscle strength, muscle quality, chair stand, balance and alternate step tests) were measured. Women were divided into three groups (sedentary [n = 19], <7,500 steps; moderately active [n = 20], 7,500-10,000 steps; active [n = 18], >10,000 steps).

Results: A higher number of steps per day was associated with higher maximal oxygen consumption (mL/min per kg; P = 0.001) and total energy expenditure (P = 0.004) as well as lower body weight (P = 0.035) and fat mass (P = 0.048). Surprisingly, no differences for skeletal muscle mass, muscle strength, muscle quality, and functional capacity were observed between the groups, although this could have been because of the small sample size.

Conclusions: A daily amount of 10,000 steps seems to be associated with better body composition and higher cardiovascular functions. However, neither functional capacity nor muscle functions seem to be related to the daily amount of steps in postmenopausal women. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm our preliminary results because cross-sectional study designs do not permit the understanding of temporal relations.

Ten thousand steps a day appears to be associated with better body composition and higher cardiovascular function. However, neither functional capacity nor muscle function seems to be related to the daily amount of steps in postmenopausal women.

From the 1Department of Kinanthropology, University of Quebec at Montreal, Montreal, Canada; 2YMCA, Montreal, Canada; and 3Research Centre of the Montreal Geriatric University Institute, Montreal, Canada.

Received July 11, 2011; revised and accepted September 21, 2011.

Funding/support: M.A.-L. is supported by the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM).

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Mylène Aubertin-Leheudre, PhD, Département de kinanthropologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Case postale 8888, succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3C 3P8. E-mail: aubertin-leheudre.mylene@uqam.ca

©2012The North American Menopause Society