If all you do for cardio fitness is take an evening walk or use a treadmill, you are not getting adequate aerobic exercise.

Which is better, a traditional aerobic workout session like a step class, or a fitness walking session?

A six-month study concludes that the traditional aerobics class or cardio workout beats walking.

This would include classes like step, high impact, or any group fitness class that has a name that suggest there’s a lot of movement such as “boot camp” or “fat burn blitz.”

For the study, headed by Gordon Bell of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, 128 sedentary women and men ages 27 to 65 were recruited. None had known disease.

After six months, subjects in a supervised aerobics program had far greater reductions in systolic (the “top number”) blood pressure; perceived exertion; and peak oxygen uptake.

“We gradually built up the number of steps that the walking group did until they were prescribed 10,000 steps per day to be completed every day of the week,” says Bell in the study report.

They completed 92 percent of this prescription. The adherence rate was not surprising, since pedometer use is easy and requires very little planning.

The aerobics fitness group, on the other hand, had heart rate monitoring during exercise plus a few other requirements.

Both groups experienced fitness benefits such as lower body mass index. But those in the traditional aerobics program had a greater improvement in fitness than did the walkers.

It’s crucial to note that the “walking” for this study was mere walking. It was not in the form of high intensity interval training or anaerobic walking — techniques that crucify body fat — which produce stellar fitness results — results superior to those of the average group aerobics class like a low impact aerobics class or even a step class.

It’s not surprising that the more structured aerobic workouts came out the winner.

Being led by an instructor forces people to exert themselves more, to work harder, than if they were all by themselves somewhere just walking, such as taking a walk around the neighborhood or using a treadmill.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 


­Top image: ©Lorra Garrick
Source: sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517111904.htm