Walking can significantly increase cardiorespiratory fitness and thereby reduce the incidence of heart disease in women. However, there is a paucity of research aimed at increasing walking in rural women, a high-risk group for heart disease and one for which exercise strategies may pose particular challenges.
This study tested Heart-to-Heart (HTH), a 12-week walking program, designed to increase fitness through walking in rural women. Heart-to-Heart integrated individual-oriented strategies, including motivational interviewing, and group-based strategies, including team building.
Forty-six rural women were randomized to either HTH or a comparison group. The primary outcome of cardiorespiratory fitness and secondary outcomes of self-efficacy and social support were measured preintervention and postintervention. Group differences were analyzed with repeated-measures analysis of variance.
Women in HTH group had a greater improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness (P =.057) and in social support (P =.004) compared with women in the comparison group. Neither group of women experienced a change in exercise self-efficacy (P =.814).
HTH was effective in improving cardiorespiratory fitness in a sample of rural women. Further research is needed to refine HTH and determine the optimal approach in rural women to increase their walking.
Cindy K. Perry, PhD, ARNP Assistant Professor, Family and Child Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.
Anne G. Rosenfeld, PhD, RN, CNS, FAHA, FAAN Associate Professor, Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing, Portland, Ore.
Jill A. Bennett, PhD, RN, CNS Associate Professor, University of Auckland School of Nursing, Auckland, New Zealand.
Kathleen Potempa, DNSc, RN, FAAN Professor and Dean, University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Corresponding author Cindy K. Perry, PhD, ARNP, Family and Child Nursing, University of Washington, PO Box 357262, Seattle, WA 98195-7262 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).