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Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy

Print version ISSN 1413-3555On-line version ISSN 1809-9246


SILVA, Anderson A. et al. Assessment of intensity effort of middle-aged adults practicing regular walking. Braz. J. Phys. Ther. [online]. 2015, vol.19, n.6, pp.491-497.  Epub Oct 09, 2015. ISSN 1809-9246.


Walking is one of the most commonly recommended activities for sedentary individuals. When performed at the correct intensity, it can provide cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, and other benefits by providing a training effect in addition to reducing the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and other chronic health conditions.


The primary aim of this study was to assess whether individuals who practiced regular unsupervised walking carry out the activity safely and with sufficient effort intensity parameters to have a positive physiological (training) effect. The secondary objective was to compare the training heart rate (HR) and the stability of the HR within the ideal range of training between the sexes.


Individuals were selected from walking tracks within the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The study included subjects from 40 to 60 years of age who had practiced walking for at least two months prior to the study, walking at least three times a week. Individuals who agreed to participate in the survey were asked to walk 15 minutes at their usual pace with their HR measured every 5 minutes using a heart rate monitor. Their average walking HR was compared to the average training HR based on the formula: (220 - age) × 70 to 80% that would result in a positive physiological training effect.


Of the 142 individuals evaluated, 25.4% achieved the average training HR. This result was significantly lower than those who did not achieve the average training HR while walking (p=0.002). There were significant differences between men and women who had reached the training HR (p=0.0001).


The authors found that individuals who walk regularly performed outside the range of the ideal HR intensity that would cause a positive physiological effect and therefore would probably not achieve a beneficial training effect while walking.

Keywords : physical therapy; cardiovascular system; physical exertion; heart rate; walking.

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