Pace of walking determines health benefits, study says

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It appears that low-intensity walking alone will not provide the same health benefits as a more moderate workout, a new study indicates.

The pace and effort invested in the walking matters more than the number of steps or distance covered, say researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

The researchers tested the effects of the 10,000-step program against a program involving exercise at moderate intensity on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. Peak oxygen uptake – an indicator of aerobic fitness – increased by 10% in the moderate intensity group, while the walkers increased their peak oxygen uptake by just 4%. Systolic blood pressure also dropped by a higher percentage in the traditional fitness group compared to the walking group.