Effects of the time of day of walking on dietary behaviour, body composition and aerobic fitness in post-menopausal women

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2010 Jun;50(2):196-201.


Aim: Post-menopause is linked to an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Physical exercise and healthy dietary habits are normally suggested to enhance health. The aim of this study was to verify whether the time of day of walking had different effects on both spontaneous dietary intake and body composition modification in overweight and sedentary post-menopausal women.

Methods: Forty-two sedentary post-menopausal women (53.46+/-3.32 yrs) were recruited. Thirty-three completed the study: 29 were suitable for statistical analysis. Of those, 14 walked in the morning (MG) and 15 in the early evening (EG). Body composition, dietary habits and predicted VO2max were investigated. Food intake was analysed for energy, macronutrients and daily distribution.

Results: The Mann-Whitney test showed that according to the time of day of walking there were different fat mass (FM) reductions and dietary behaviour responses. EG reduced FM greater than MG and showed a major increase in morning energy intake (EI). Sub-samples did not differ in total EI, daily macronutrient portioning and daily meals variations. The variation of FM was correlated with that of proteins (r=-0.352), morning EI (r=-0.367) and aerobic performance (r=0.369). Both MG and EG improved their aerobic performance.

Conclusion: The positive effects of walking on health could be optimised by its evening execution because it could also be linked to spontaneous dietary habit modification.

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Fat Distribution
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Time Factors
  • Walking / physiology*