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Prev Med. 2015 Mar;72:34-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.12.041. Epub 2015 Jan 8.

The effect of walking on risk factors for cardiovascular disease: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials.

Author information

1
Department of Arts Education and Physical Education, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. Electronic address: elaine.murtagh@mic.ul.ie.
2
School of Health and Population Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, UK.
3
School of Health Studies, University of Bradford, Bradford, England, UK.
4
School of Sports, Performing Arts and Leisure, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, England, UK.
5
Sport and Exercise Science Research Institute, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials that examined the effect of walking on risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

METHODS:

Four electronic databases and reference lists were searched (Jan 1971-June 2012). Two authors identified randomised control trials of interventions ≥ 4 weeks in duration that included at least one group with walking as the only treatment and a no-exercise comparator group. Participants were inactive at baseline. Pooled results were reported as weighted mean treatment effects and 95% confidence intervals using a random effects model.

RESULTS:

32 articles reported the effects of walking interventions on cardiovascular disease risk factors. Walking increased aerobic capacity (3.04 mL/kg/min, 95% CI 2.48 to 3.60) and reduced systolic (-3.58 mm Hg, 95% CI -5.19 to -1.97) and diastolic (-1.54 mm Hg, 95% CI -2.83 to -0.26) blood pressure, waist circumference (-1.51 cm, 95% CI -2.34 to -0.68), weight (-1.37 kg, 95% CI -1.75 to -1.00), percentage body fat (-1.22%, 95% CI -1.70 to -0.73) and body mass index (-0.53 kg/m(2), 95% CI -0.72 to -0.35) but failed to alter blood lipids.

CONCLUSIONS:

Walking interventions improve many risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This underscores the central role of walking in physical activity for health promotion.

KEYWORDS:

Cardiovascular risk; Exercise; Health; Walking

PMID:
25579505
DOI:
10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.12.041
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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