The volume of brisk walking is the key determinant of BMD improvement in premenopausal women

PLoS One. 2022 Mar 16;17(3):e0265250. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265250. eCollection 2022.


Summary: Osteoporosis is an increasing health problem in postmenopausal women. Our findings indicated that long-term brisk walking with a volume greater than 16 per week is effective for improving BMD in premenopausal women.

Purpose: To examine the effects of brisk walking on bone mineral density (BMD) in premenopausal women, and further determine the effective frequency, intensity, time and volume (frequency x duration) of brisk walking for training strategy prescription.

Methods: 222 healthy premenopausal women were recruited for BMD measurement. According to the survey of their physical activity level, 84 subjects (age: 46±1.8) whose physical activity index ≥40 were categorized into the brisk walking group, and 138 subjects (age: 47±2.2) whose physical activity index <40 were assigned to the sedentary group. The BMD of these two groups were statistically compared with an independent t test. Next, 35 subjects from the original sedentary group were recruited for BMD measurement after 2-year moderate brisk walking. According to the volume of physical activity per week, they were divided into the control group (n = 10, aged 49±0.9), volume 8 group (n = 4, aged 48±1.2), volume 12 group (n = 7, aged 49±1.4), volume 16 group (n = 8, aged 49±1.3), and volume 20 group (n = 6, aged 49±1.5). ANOVA was used to analyze BMD before and after brisk walking among the five groups.

Results: The BMD in the brisk walking group (1.00±0.008 g/cm2) was significantly higher than that in the sedentary group (0.89±0.008 g/cm2) (P<0.001). Stepwise regression analysis revealed that the volume of brisk walking was significantly correlated with BMD (P<0.001). In particular, brisk walking with a volume greater than 16 (a score of duration up to 4 and a score of frequency up to 4 or 5) per week is effective for improving BMD in premenopausal women (P = 0.03, P = 0.002, respectively).

Conclusions: Long-term brisk walking is an efficient way to improve BMD. Taking brisk walks for 30 minutes per day 3 or more times per week (volume>16) is recommended to prevent bone loss in premenopausal women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Density
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal* / prevention & control
  • Premenopause
  • Walking

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Changchun Normal University (2013006) and YL received the award.