Postmenopausal women who walked at least 10,000 steps a day did not have better muscle strength, balance or agility than women who walked fewer than 7,500 steps a day, according to a recent study. However, researchers found that extra walking each day led to favorable measures of body fat, weight and endurance.
The researchers, led by Mylene Aubertin-Leheudre, PhD, of the University of Quebec in Montreal, measured the walking habits of 57 women between the ages of 50 and 70 years. Each woman wore a pedometer for 1 week to record the number of steps taken per day. Body composition, energetic metabolism and functional capacity were also measured.
The women were divided into three activity groups: those who walked fewer than 7,500 steps per day, between 7,500 and 10,000 steps per day and more than 10,000 steps per day.
Women who walked more than 10,000 steps a day had better body composition and higher cardiovascular functions, but muscle strength and the percentage of muscle mass on the body were comparable among the three groups. All groups also performed similarly on the balance and physical ability tests regardless of the number of steps walked.
The study did not measure the intensity or quality of the steps, and further studies are needed to investigate these results.