Aerobic Exercise Beats Walking for Health Benefits
Researchers recently compared the health benefits of aerobic exercise and pedometer based walking, comparing the health outcomes between the two activities. The results show that when it comes to choosing the best exercise for fitness, aerobic exercise provides better health benefits.
At the end of six months researchers found lower blood pressure, better lung function, and lower rates of perceived exertion among study participants performing traditional aerobic exercise compared to pedometer based walking.
The study, conducted over six months included 128 physically inactive men and women between 27 and 65 years of age who wore pedometers during the study to ensure all of the participants stayed within guidelines for number of steps taken. All of the participants lost body mass, reduced waist circumference and lowered their heart rates, but the group performing aerobic exercise showed improved fitness levels compared to the pedometer based walking group.
Gordon Bell, in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at University of Alberta - Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation says, “Not everybody's going to be able to start in a traditional exercise program, such as those with certain health issues or type 2 diabetes, because of the higher intensity, duration and frequency of exercise training that is required". Walking is still good exercise, but aerobic exercise beats walking when it comes to overall health benefits.
"The participants in the traditional fitness program improved their fitness-based response more than those in the walking program," says Bell. "The magnitude of that difference in improvement was very clear." Aerobic activity lowered blood pressure 9 percent compared to 3 percent in the walking group, lowered rate of perceived exertion by ten percent, improved peak oxygen intake 9 percent versus 3 percent, and decreased ventilatory threshold (the point where exercise causes breathing difficulty) 15 percent versus 4 percent, comparing aerobics to walking.
Traditional aerobics may not be suitable for everyone, and may not be as easy to stick to as a pedometer based walking program warns Bell. When it comes to health benefits, the study found that traditional aerobic exercise beats walking, but may not be something everyone can accomplish.