2015 - Research

Is There Evidence that Walking Groups Have Health Benefits?

A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis


Walking groups among adults can result in improved health outcomes, including blood pressure, heart rate, body fat, BMI, cholesterol, oxygen uptake, and 6-minute walk time.


  • A meta-analysis demonstrated statistically significant health benefits averaged across studies, including:
    • Increased distance during 6-min walk time (by 79.6 m)
    • Lower resting heart rate (by 2.88 bpm)
    • Reduced body fat (by 1.31%) and body mass index (by 0.71 kg/m2)
    • Reduced total cholesterol (by 0.11 mmol/L )
    • Reduced mean difference for systolic blood pressure (by 3.72 mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (by 3.14 mm Hg)
    • Increased VO2max (by 2.66 mL/kg/min)
    • Improved SF-36 physical functioning score (by 6.02)
  • These significant improvements in health outcomes were observed despite the fact that 75% of study interventions did not achieve moderate activity guidelines.


  • This systematic review examined 42 studies of health outcomes of walking group interventions for adults across the US and 13 other countries prior to 2013.
  • A subset of 17 studies were used for meta-analysis of common outcome measures.

Hanson, S, & Jones, A. (2015). Is there evidence that walking groups have health benefits? A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine. (0), 1-7. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2014-094157

Authored by: 
Hanson S
Jones A.