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Arobics versus Pedometer Based Walking for Health

Much has been written about the benefits of both aerobic fitness training and pedometer-based walking programmes, and both have real health benefits. So which to choose? In part it depends on what you’re looking for in terms of results, and in part it depends on the kind of exercise you like to do.

The scientists compared a pedometer-based walking programme to an aerobic fitness programme, in terms of the health outcomes such as blood pressure, perceived exertion, ventilatory threshold, and peak VO2. Each programme was designed to require the same amount of energy expenditure. After six months, those participating in the aerobic fitness programme showed significantly greater improvements in all factors.

Gordon Bell, an exercise physiologist at the University of Alberta, led the study and says, “The participants in the traditional fitness programme improved their fitness-based response more than those in the walking program. The magnitude of that difference in improvement was very clear. However, not everybody’s going to be able to start in a traditional exercise programme, such as those with certain health issues such as obesity, lower limb problems or type 2 diabetes, because of the higher intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise training that is required.”

He notes that most people can walk and that they found high levels of adherence to the walking program, because people can use a simple device , collect their steps throughout the day, and do it on their own time. The adherence is key, because it will take at least 6 months of regular walking to see the benefits from a pedometer-based walking programme.

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