Exercising at levels of whole body accelerations exceeding 3.6 g has been shown to have positive effects on cardiovascular fitness, bone density and balance. This pilot research project evaluated the whole body accelerations and cardiovascular challenge provided by selected walks in the Canberra region of Australia to determine if walks could be ranked according to potential level of impact on both cardiovascular fitness and bone health. Nine participants, who described themselves as walking at least 3 km, three times per week, wore a data logging device recording heart rate, acceleration and GPS position while walking three outdoor tracks: (1) the running track of an athletics stadium; (2) on a hill climb path through bushland; and (3) on a route through suburban streets. There was a significant difference (P < 0.05) for heart rate, distribution of whole body accelerations and average walking speed between track 2 and tracks 1 and 3. There was a significant difference for heart rate, distribution of whole body accelerations and average walking speed between the walks. The running track and the suburban walk provide a moderate exercise challenge, with the hill climb walk providing progressively greater vertical height challenge, resulting in an increased cardiovascular exercise challenge. No participant effectively exceeded the threshold for achieving a positive impact on bone density (100 or more accelerations/day >3.6 g) on track 1, and only two of the nine participants intermittently achieved this threshold on tracks 2 and 3.
Waddington, G., Dickson, T., Trathen, S., & Adams, R. (2011). Walking for fitness: is it enough to maintain both heart and bone health? Australian Journal of Primary Health, 17(1), 86-88. https://doi.org/10.1071/PY10035