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Walking Helps Control Diabetes


Updated December 10, 2008

Exercise and walking are excellent tools for controlling Type II diabetes and improving health for people with diabetes. A study published in June, 2005 measured how much walking is needed to produce the best effects.

38 Minutes or 4400 Steps a Day

Walking or doing other aerobic exercise for 38 minutes - about 2.2 miles or 4400 steps - showed a significant effect for those with diabetes, even if they didn't lose weight. They improved their hemoglobin A1C by 0.4%, reduced their risk of heart disease, and improved their cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They saved $288 a year in health care costs.
Choosing and Using a Pedometer to Count Steps

10,000 Steps per Day

Walkers who logged 10,000 steps per day - almost 90 minutes or 5 miles - saw the biggest benefit. The number of walkers with diabetes who needed insulin therapy dropped by 25%, and those on insuling therapy reduced their dosage by an average 11 units per day. They had great improvement in hemoglobin A1C levels of 1.1%, improved cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and reduced risk of heart disease. They reduced their medical costs by over $1200 per year.

Stay on the Couch - Get Sick and Lose Money

Those who didn't walk saw their health care costs go up by over $500 in the two-year study period. Their insulin use went up, as did cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. There is a huge cost in failing to walk and exercise, especially for those with diabetes.

It's Not Too Late to Take the First Step

Exercise and walking have also been shown to reduce the risks of developing Type II diabetes. Whether you have diabetes or not, it is never too soon or too late to begin a walking or exercise program.

Let's Get Walking: Free 28-day course by email helps you go from zero to 30 minutes a day of walking. Designed for beginners.

Walk of Life 10-Week Program: Free email or online course for walking, better nutrition, and weight management. Each day you receive a walking lesson, walking assignment, nutrition tip, healthy recipe, and motivation tip.

10 Tips for Walking With Diabetes

Source: Chiara Di Loreto, MD, Carmine Fanelli, MD, et.al. "Make Your Diabetic Patients Walk: Long-term impact of different amounts of physical activity on type 2 diabetes," Diabetes Care 28:1295-1302, 2005

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