The effect of walking on risk factors for cardiovascular disease: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

  • Elaine M. Murtagh
  • Linda Nichols
  • Marie H. Murphy

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Objective
To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials that examined the effect of walking on risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Methods
Four electronic databases and reference lists were searched (Jan 1971–June 2012). Two authors identified randomised control trials of interventions ≥ 4 weeks in duration that included at least one group with walking as the only treatment and a no-exercise comparator group. Participants were inactive at baseline. Pooled results were reported as weighted mean treatment effects and 95% confidence intervals using a random effects model.
Results
32 articles reported the effects of walking interventions on cardiovascular disease risk factors. Walking increased aerobic capacity (3.04 mL/kg/min, 95% CI 2.48 to 3.60) and reduced systolic (− 3.58 mm Hg, 95% CI − 5.19 to − 1.97) and diastolic (− 1.54 mm Hg, 95% CI − 2.83 to − 0.26) blood pressure, waist circumference (− 1.51 cm, 95% CI − 2.34 to − 0.68), weight (− 1.37 kg, 95% CI − 1.75 to − 1.00), percentage body fat (− 1.22%, 95% CI − 1.70 to − 0.73) and body mass index (− 0.53 kg/m2, 95% CI − 0.72 to − 0.35) but failed to alter blood lipids.
Conclusions
Walking interventions improve many risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
This underscores the central role of walking in physical activity for health promotion.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-43
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume72
Early online date8 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

Keywords

  • Walking, Exercise, Health, Cardiovascular risk