Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise we can do. If you become severely deconditioned and overweight, it may be one of the few exercises you can perform.
So as you pull out your cross-trainers before the sun comes up to take a stroll around the neighborhood, consider this good news: walking can also prevent you from becoming diabetic.
A new study published this month in the online version of the British Medical Journal shows that the more people walk, the greater their sensitivity to insulin – a hormone the body uses to turn blood sugar into energy.
People develop type 2 diabetes when their bodies cannot use insulin effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. Eighty percent of people with type 2 dabetes, the most common form, are overweight, according to the National Institutes of Health.
About 600 middle-aged adults tracked their steps by wearing a pedometer, according to the recent study. Researchers also quizzed them on their eating habits and measured their bodies and insulin sensitivity in 2000 and again in 2005. Those who walked up to 10,000 steps per day – about two miles – had a lower body mass index, less abdominal fat and greater insulin sensitivity.
Although the study was funded by pharmaceutical groups who make diabetes drugs, it was also paid for by the Australian government.
Walking not only makes you look better, but it can help you live longer, too.
Sources: British Medical Journal, National Institutes of Health
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Alice Warchol is a freelance health writer.