Influence of walking volume on health benefits in women post-menopause

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996 Sep;28(9):1097-105. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199609000-00004.


The health benefits of physical activity are believed to be related more to exercise volume than to intensity. In this 24-wk study, we examined the effect of walking volume on aerobic fitness, serum lipids, and body composition in women post-menopause, a population at risk for coronary artery disease. Of 79 women randomly assigned to groups at the outset, 56 completed the study (mean age 61.3 +/- 5.8). Participants walked at an intensity of 60% peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) for 60 min, 3 d.wk-1 (N = 19) or 5 d.wk-1 (N = 17), or remained sedentary (N = 20). Walking 3 or 5 d.wk-1 increased VO2peak ( by 12% and 14%, respectively (P < 0.01). There were no changes in serum lipids in response to either program. Percent body fat decreased by 1.1% and 1.3% in those walking 3 and 5 d.wk-1, respectively; both changes significantly different from the control group (P < 0.05). Walking 5 d.wk-1 did not result in more health benefits than 3 d.wk-1, possibly due to a greater compensatory decline in activities other than the walking program, or greater discrepancies between actual and reported activity and food intake. Longer-duration programs, or simultaneous changes in diet, may be necessary to alter serum lipids in nonobese, normo-lipidemic women post-menopause.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Postmenopause
  • Time Factors
  • Walking / physiology*


  • Lipids