Is the goal of 12,000 steps per day sufficient for improving body composition and metabolic syndrome? The necessity of combining exercise intensity: a randomized controlled trial.
BMC Public Health. 2019 Sep 3 ;19(1):1215. Epub 2019 Sep 3. PMID: 31481039
BACKGROUND: To investigate the differences in body composition and metabolic syndrome (MS) under a daily 12,000-step strategy with or without moderate-intensity walking exercise in college students with obesity.
METHODS: Thirty-two adults with obesity (mean (s.d.) age: 19.72 (0.80) years; height: 165.38 (3.99) cm; wt: 83.31 (4.66) kg; body mass index: 30.38 (0.83) kg m) were recruited and randomly assigned to the walking step goal group (WSG; achieving 12,000 steps per day), walking exercise group (WEG; achieving 12,000 steps per day, including 3 days per week on which walking at a step rate of over 103 steps minwas required), or control group (CG; maintaining a free-living life style). Each participant's accumulated daily steps from daily activities and walking exercises were monitored using a smartwatch for 8 weeks. The variables of body composition and MS were measured before and after intervention.
RESULTS: Average daily steps over 8 weeks did not significantly differ between the WSG and WEG (11,677.67 (480.24) vs. 12,131.90 (527.14) steps per day, respectively, P > .05). Although the CG and WSG showed no improvement in body composition, the WEG exhibited significant improvements in terms of hip circumference and visceral fat area (VFA) (∆ - 2.28 (3.27) cm and ∆ - 13.11 (9.83) cm, respectively, P < .05); high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), fasting glucose (FG), and triglycerides (TG) (∆ 16.36 (8.39), ∆ - 2.53 (3.73), and ∆ - 10.52 (36.26) mg dL, respectively, P < .05). The WSG exhibited improvements only in HDL-C (∆ 14.24 (16.13) mg dL, P < .05).
CONCLUSION: The combination of walking exercise program and daily step goal is a more time efficient strategy in improving body composition and MS than simply establishing a daily step goal. Furthermore, this strategy may also include a potential reduction effect on the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, number ACTR N12618001237279 (Retrospectively registered).