Research Study Abstract

Consistency in exercise timing and weekly walking participation among previously sedentary women

  • Presented on May 21, 2014

Purpose: Habit formation offers an innovative technique for promoting long-term behavior change and consistency in the timing of a target behavior is thought to be important to initiating and learning a new habit. The aim of this analysis was to assess whether consistency of exercise timing was associated with overall exercise participation during an eight week walking intervention.

Methods: Previously sedentary, pre-menopausal women (n=52, 37.6±6.2y, 84.6% Caucasian) enrolled in an eight week walking intervention to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity walking weekly measured continuously by Actigraph GT3x+ monitors. Women were stratified into 4 equal groups based on percentage of brisk walking bouts (≥ 20 minutes duration) performed in the participant’s most common walking period (Morning, Midday, Afternoon, and Evening).

Results: Participants performed 62.8% of their walking bouts at a consistent time of day with quartile groupings ranging from a low of 35.8-50.9% in Group 1 to a high of 74.0-96.3% in Group 4. Evenings were the most common walking period for 69.2% of women. Average walking duration differed by consistency in daily walking time but not in a dose-response manner (154.0±29.8 min, 177.9±31.5 min, 160.3±25.0 min, 174.7±36.3 min across groups 1-4, respectively; p=0.17).

Conclusions: Consistency of exercise timing appears to have a small effect on weekly walking averages but should be further explored in studies that (a) have greater variations in walking totals and (b) do not provide financial incentives for compliance.