+AA
Fr
Back
Evidence Summary

What is an Evidence Summary?

Key messages from scientific research that's ready to be acted on

Got It, Hide this
  • Rating:

Walking reduces some risk factors for heart disease in previously inactive adults

Murtagh EM, Nichols L, Mohammed MA, et al. The effect of walking on risk factors for cardiovascular disease: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials. Prev Med. 2015;72C:34-43.

Review question

In previously inactive adults, does walking reduce risk factors for heart disease?

Background

Physical inactivity increases the risk of many illnesses including heart disease and high blood pressure. Walking is a relatively simple way to increase activity levels, particularly in people who may be sedentary, obese, and at high risk of heart disease. By walking, then, inactive adults may be able to reduce their risk of heart disease.

How the review was done

The researchers did a systematic review based on studies available up to June 2012.

They found 31 randomized controlled trials with 1,487 people (30 to 83 years of age).

Key features of the studies were:

  • people walked 20 to 60 minutes/day, 2 to 7 days/week, for 8 to 52 weeks;
  • walking intensity varied from light to vigorous, and could be self-paced; and
  • walking was compared with no exercise.

What the researchers found

Compared with no exercise, walking reduced:

  • body fat;
  • blood pressure;
  • body mass index (BMI); and
  • body weight.

Compared with no exercise, walking did not affect total cholesterol levels.

Conclusion

In previously inactive adults, walking reduces some risk factors for heart disease.

Walking vs no exercise in inactive people

Outcomes

Number of trials (number of people)

Average difference at follow-up

Body fat

14 (719)

3.5% less with walking

Systolic blood pressure

16 (816)

2.9% lower with walking

Diastolic blood pressure

16 (806)

2.0% lower with walking

Body mass index (BMI)

23 (1,201)

2.0% lower with walking

Body weight

25 (1,275)

1.8% less with walking

Total cholesterol level

16 (758)

No difference with walking

 




Glossary

Diastolic
The lower number in a blood pressure reading. It is the pressure when the heart rests between beats.
Randomized controlled trials
Studies where people are assigned to one of the treatments purely by chance.
Risk factors
Aspects making a condition more likely.
Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.
Systolic
The higher number in a blood pressure reading. It is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats.

Related Web Resources

  • Preparing for surgery

    Evidently Cochrane
    Bathing with general wash products before surgery to prevent infection has similar benefits to bathing with antiseptic solutions.
  • Preventing deep vein thrombosis

    Evidently Cochrane
    Compression stockings help to prevent deep vein thrombosis (blood clots and swelling) after surgery. You can choose to wear thigh or knee length stockings.
  • Worried about dementia? Here are 5 ways to cut your risk

    HealthLine
    Dementia affects millions of people around the world, and there is no current treatment. There are a few ways to lower your risk. Eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, stay social, and limit alcohol and smoking.
DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Register for free access to all Professional content

Register
Want the latest in aging research? Sign up for our email alerts.
Subscribe

Support for the Portal is largely provided by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative. AGE-WELL is a contributing partner. Help us to continue to provide direct and easy access to evidence-based information on health and social conditions to help you stay healthy, active and engaged as you grow older. Donate Today.

© 2012 - 2019 McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8 | +1 905-525-9140 | Terms Of Use