According to researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York, moderately intense walking appears to be able to improve one’s cardiovascular health in the short term.

“We know walking is an excellent form of exercise, but research has been mixed on how successful a walking program can be in changing biological markers such as cholesterol, weight, and blood pressure,” says Pamela Stewart Fahs, associate dean, professor, and Dr. G. Clifford and Florence B. Decker chair in rural nursing at the Binghamton University Decker School of Nursing, in a media release.

Fahs and her team conducted their study on a group of 70 women in rural New York who participated in a walking program as part of their community.

According to the release, the participants were given a programmable pedometer to wear for waking hours over a 10-week period and asked to walk briskly for at least 150 minutes per week. After the 10 weeks ended, the participants’ weight, BMI, blood pressure, and cholesterol were measured. They were also asked to complete a survey about their physical activity, food choices, personal characteristics, and behaviors from the 10-week period.

The post-test results confirmed the researchers’ hypothesis that walking would help improve the women’s cardiovascular risk factors in the short term.

“I believe there is a need to test for effects of a built-in challenge within a program to see if that helps motivate participants to participate longer and/or produces more successful outcomes,” Fahs states in the release. “In addition, work needs to be done to see how best to keep rural women engaged in meaningful exercise for longer periods of time.”

According to the researchers in the release, although studies such as these are usually conducted and tested in urban and suburban areas, this study could be replicated in rural communities as well. They also suggest future research to have randomized sampling with a more diverse population.

The study was published recently in Creative Nursing.

[Source(s): Binghamton University, State University of New York, Science Daily]