Lots of walking does not improve muscle strength


This is intriguing: women who walk 10,000 steps a day aren’t any stronger and aren’t any more agile than women who walk fewer than 7,500. So I’m getting off the treadmill right now.

Researchers did find that extra daily walking is tied to lower body fat and weight as well as greater endurance. OK, I’m getting back on.

“This tells me more is better in terms of body composition and fitness,” said Catrine Tudor-Locke, a professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. “None of us think that if you walk a lot you are going to have huge muscles.”

The researchers tracked the walking habits of 57 women between ages 50 and 70. They were asked to wear pedometers for any walking that lasted longer than three minutes. The women fell naturally into three categories: less than 7,500 steps, between 7,500 and 10,000 and over 10,000. Researchers also measured weight and body fat, muscle mass and strength as well as balancing and functional skills like standing on one foot.

The women who walked the most weighed less and had the least body fat. I’m definitely staying on the treadmill.

But other categories were pretty much the same. The same levels of strength and the same flexibility regardless of number of steps taken.

“This is good for the prevention of cardiovascular risk factors,” said lead researcher Mylene Aubertin-Leheudre from the University of Quebec in Montreal. “Maybe we don’t walk the way we need to walk,” to achieve greater muscle strength, explained Leheudre.

For future studies they may look at the quality of the walk. It could be that intensity is the key for increasing strength and flexibility.

Source: Reuters, Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society


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