Posted on Mar 12, 2018, 9 p.m.
Use of a pedometer to count steps as part of a 12 week walking programme has been found by researchers to promote a healthier more active lifestyle 3-4 years later.
30 minutes of walking briskly each day or more on most days of the week can help adults to achieve important health benefits. Researchers compared adults that were in a 12 week programme using pedometers with adults who did not. Results showed that the participants in the pedometer group were still doing more physical activity 3-4 years later, according to the researchers from the University of St. George’s.
Participants took part in a 12 week walking study designed on behaviour changing techniques and physical activity diaries, which were provided by or as part of practice nurse physical activity consultations. 1023 primary care patients were recruited from general practices that were inactive and in the 45-75 year old age group, and were found at 3 year follow up that participants in both the postal and nurse advice groups were continuing to participate in 24-48 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week in 10 minute sessions and an extra 600 steps per day and than those in the comparison group.
298 primary care patients in the 60-75 year age group were recruited as participants from 3 practices and found at a 4 year follow up that those in the nurses intervention were continuing to participate in an extra extra 33 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week in 10 minutes sessions and an extra 400 steps per day than those in the comparison group.
Pedometers are know to be able to help to improve physical activity in the population short term, but long term health benefits require sustained physical effort. This study has shown that short, easy pedometer walking interventions can lead to greater objectively measured physical activity 3-4 year later by continuing to boost interest in activity.
Materials provided by University of St George's London.
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Tess Harris, Sally M. Kerry, Elizabeth S. Limb, Cheryl Furness, Charlotte Wahlich, Christina R. Victor, Steve Iliffe, Peter H. Whincup, Michael Ussher, Ulf Ekelund, Julia Fox-Rushby, Judith Ibison, Stephen DeWilde, Cathy McKay, Derek G. Cook. Physical activity levels in adults and older adults 3–4 years after pedometer-based walking interventions: Long-term follow-up of participants from two randomised controlled trials in UK primary care. PLOS Medicine, 2018; 15 (3): e1002526 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002526