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  • Jakob De Coninck

Article review: To walk or not to walk that is the question!

Article: Murphy, M.H. and Hardman, A.E., 1998. Training effects of short and long bouts of brisk walking in sedentary women. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 30(1), pp.152-157.

Design: 10 week intervention study of 34 women whereby 12 were assign to short bouts of walking (Three 10minute walks), 12 were assigned long bouts of walking (One 30min walk) and 10 were assigned as a control where they changed nothing of their lifestyle. All walking was to be completed at 70-80% of max Heart Rate.

Findings: They found, the short bout walkers increased their VO2max, and blood lactate buffering. They also found a decrease in body fat mass and skinfolds. The Long bout walkers had an increase in VO2max and blood lactate same as short bout walkers but only a decrease in skinfolds (same as short) not body mass.

Limitations: The control groups body mass and skinfolds increased over the study, which may incorrectly inflate the size of change for the walking group. Diet was not accurately followed either, they were merely told to continue with their usual diet but this may have fluctuated with the addition of walking.

My Thoughts: This study confirmed a lot of previous studies showing the benefit of brisk walking on weight loss. What was even better was it showed (for the time poor people) that short bout walking had the same positive outcomes as one continuous walk meaning that it opens the ability to fit exercise into daily routine. The significant decrease in body mass in the short not long walking group I don't think is much to argue for as diet was not controlled and the actual numbers were mearly a few 100g different.

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