Chronic Conditions, Diabetes, Prediabetes | By | 04/05/18 | 2 Minute Read

5 Ways Walking Can Help You Better Manage Diabetes

Over a hundred million people in the U.S. are living with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. In fact, 90% of people with prediabetes don’t even know they have it.

But here’s the good news: if you have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes you can take steps to help you get the condition under control.

Here’s how you can better manage diabetes:

Avoid sedentary behavior. Prolonged sitting has a negative effect on preventing or managing health problems, including diabetes. Because of this, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends three or more minutes of light activity every 30 minutes during prolonged sedentary activities.

Establish a walking routine. When it comes to managing blood glucose levels, lowering A1c levels, and avoiding sedentary behavior, walking is an easy way to start. You don’t need a gym membership, and you can walk anywhere. In a study of people with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that walking significantly decreased A1c levels, and even lowered body mass index and blood pressure.

You don’t have to run. Running, with all its health benefits, isn’t necessarily more effective in helping to manage certain conditions. One study found that both walking and running produced similar risk reductions for hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Be consistent with your walks. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends people not go more than 2 consecutive days without an aerobic exercise session – such as a walk. One study in people with prediabetes found that on participants’ workout days, moderate-intensity exercise increased insulin sensitivity by 51% and high-intensity exercise increased it by 85%.

And consider a 10,000 step goal. Researchers recently found the efficacy of 10,000 steps per day. They observed people who regularly walked at least 10,000 steps as part of their daily lives and had them lower their step count to 1,500 steps per day for 2 weeks. Tests then showed participants had increases in their fat levels and waist sizes, and showed signs of muscle loss and lower cardiorespiratory fitness. Their bodies were also less able to respond to insulin. When they had resumed their normal activity levels, the negative effects were reversed – after just 14 days.

This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

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