Pedometer programs can increase physical activity in sedentary individuals, a population that is at risk for developing metabolic syndrome and each of its individual components. Although the popular 10,000 steps/day recommendation has shown to induce many favorable health benefits, it may be out of reach for sedentary individuals. This study observed the effects of incremental increases in steps/day on metabolic syndrome components in sedentary overweight women.
This study was a longitudinal, quasiexperimental design. Participants were recruited from a 12-week work-site pedometer program and grouped as either ‘active’ or ‘control’ after the intervention based on their steps/day improvement. Self-reported physical activity, pedometer assessed physical activity, BMI, resting heart rate, waist circumference, blood pressure, triglycerides, HDLC, and fasting glucose were measured before and after the program.
The active group showed significant within-group improvements in waist circumference and fasting glucose. Significant group differences were observed in resting heart rate, BMI, and systolic blood pressure; however, the changes observed in systolic blood pressure were not independent of weight loss.
Incremental increases in steps/day induced favorable changes in some MetS components suggesting that this approach is a viable starting point for sedentary individuals that may find it difficult to initially accumulate 10,000 steps/day.