Sunday, April 20, 2008

Just keep walking

Just walking will do you a lot of good. Note that intensity - walking pace - is also important.

Walking and primary prevention: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies

To quantify the association between walking and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality in healthy men and women.

Data sources:
Medline, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Web of Science databases were searched to May 2007.

Study selection:
Prospective epidemiological studies of walking and CVD and all-cause mortality.

18 prospective studies were included in the overall analysis, which incorporated 459 833 participants free from CVD at baseline with 19 249 cases at follow-up. From the meta-analysis the pooled hazard ratio of CVD in the highest walking category compared with the lowest was 0.69, (95% CI 0.61 to 0.77, p<0.001), and 0.68 (0.59 to 0.78, p<0.001) for all-cause mortality. These effects were robust among men and women, although there was evidence of publication biases for the associations with CVD risk. Walking pace was a stronger independent predictor of overall risk compared with walking volume (48% versus 26% risk reductions, respectively). There was also evidence of a dose–response relationship across the highest, intermediate, and lowest walking categories in relation to the outcome measures.

The results suggest walking is inversely associated with clinical disease endpoints and largely support the current guidelines for physical activity. The mechanisms that mediate this relationship remain largely unknown and should be the focus of future research.


Marc said...


My teacher in Japan, used to walk 2-3 hours a day. At a pace that was impossible to keep u with for us that came to visit him and walked with him. He's 77 now and I thni k he still walks about 1-2 hours every day. He has always told us that there is nothing better for the body as exercise. But the pace is a big key.

Dr. B G said...

Neat find!! So...some is better than none and regular routine exercise is BEST... Thank you for the post as it ties to heart disease! :)


Stephan said...

Sorry to be the skeptic here, but it's just an association. It could be that if you are able to walk, you are in better shape. I don't want to rain on the parade though, I still think walking is healthy.

Chris said...

Good point Stephan. The conclusion talks of an association then goes on to mention a mechanism. You have pointed out something important!