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, quasi-experimental 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, HDL-C, 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.