Background: Fitness and health variables were measured in 128 sedentary men and women randomly assigned to 6 months of fitness training (F), a walking program (W), or a control (C) group.
Methods: The F program gradually increased volume and intensity until 4 d/wk of training, at 70% of peak VO2 for 43 min/session was prescribed while the W group performed daily walking monitored with pedometers and increased until 10,000 steps x d-1 were prescribed. Total weekly energy expenditure was matched between the activity groups. The control group was asked to maintain their usual activity.
Results: Body mass, waist circumference, waist/hip ratio, resting HR were reduced in all groups after 6 months (P < .05). Fasting glucose, glucose tolerance, and total cholesterol were similarly improved in all groups (P < .05). Blood pressure and HR decreased during submaximal exercise in all groups (P < .05) but rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was decreased only in the F group (P < .05). Only the F participants showed a significant increase in ventilatory threshold (VT; ~15%) and peak VO2 (~9%) after 6 months.
Conclusions: Supervised fitness training in previously sedentary adults produced greater improvements in submaximal RPE, BP(sys), VT, and peak VO2 but not other fitness and health-related variables compared with a pedometer-based walking program matched for total energy cost.