Walking: the first steps in cardiovascular disease prevention

Elaine Murtagh, Marie Murphy, Janne Boone-Heinonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of reviewHealth professionals are presented with the challenge of prescribing physical activitythat is likely to be sustained by the sedentary majority. Walking is eminently suited tophysical activity prescription for inactive individuals as it is accessible to men andwomen of all age and social groups and poses little risk of injury. This paper reviewsrecent evidence of the health benefits of walking and promotion of walking behavior.Recent findingsLarge observational studies consistently show associations between walking andcardiovascular disease endpoints over long periods of follow-up. Intervention studiesfurther support the health benefits of walking, showing improvements in clinicalbiomarkers and measures after shorter periods of follow-up. Walking appears to havecardiovascular disease-related health benefits in younger, middle, and older men andwomen, in both healthy and patient populations. Pedometer-based, mobile phonebased,and computer-based programs are effective in increasing walking levels.Neighborhood and workplace amenities and programs may be important supports forwalking behaviors.SummaryWalking has the potential to play a key role in the primary and secondary prevention ofcardiovascular disease. Clinicians can prescribe walking to assist patients meetphysical activity recommendations and help identify supports available to the patient.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-496
JournalCurrent Opinion in Cardiology
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2010


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