What are the Physiological Benefits of Increased Daily Number of Steps in Middle-Aged Women?

Sarah J. Charman, Eleanor Brown, Miljan Grbovic, Nduka C. Okwose, Milos Markovic, Robert Ropret, Sophie Cassidy, Guy A. MacGowan, Djordje G. Jakovljevic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Physical activity plays an important role in the prevention of cardio-metabolic diseases. The present study evaluated the effect of habitual physical activity on body composition, peak oxygen consumption, cardiac and metabolic function. Methods: This was a retrospective study. Data was collected between February 2014 and November 2015. Thirty-six healthy women (age 50±16 years) were stratified according to daily number of steps into low- (<7500 steps/day, n=17) or high-active group (>12500 steps/day, n=19). All participants underwent body composition assessment, oral glucose tolerance test and non-invasive gas-exchange and haemodynamic (bioreactance) measurements at rest and in response to maximal graded cardiopulmonary exercise test. Results: The high active group averaged 16280±3205 steps/day and the low active group averaged 6285±943 steps/day (difference p=0.00). High-active women (vs. low active) demonstrated significantly lower body weight (62.1±12.3 vs. 71.2±9.1 kg, p=0.02), body fat (27.2±9.1 vs 37.7±6.4 %, p=0.00), but increased lean body mass (72.8±9.1 vs. 62.3±6.4 %, p=0.00). Peak oxygen consumption was significantly higher in high- versus low active women (2.0±0.5 vs. 1.5±0.2 l/min, p=0.00). There were no significant differences between the groups in fasting- and 2-hour glucose levels (4.9±0.6 vs. 4.8±0.5, p=0.45 and 4.8±1.3 vs. 5.5±1.4 mmol/L, p=0.16) haemodynamic measures of cardiac function including cardiac power output, cardiac output, stroke volume and arterial blood pressure at rest and in response to exercise stress test (p>0.05). Conclusions: Increased levels of habitual physical activity improve body composition and peak oxygen consumption but appears to have limited effect cardio-metabolic function in middle-aged women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-595
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number5
Early online date27 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Body composition
  • Cardiac function
  • Exercise
  • Physical activity
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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