How walking this way can protect you against type 2 diabetes

The chronic condition known as type 2 diabetes, which is characterised by elevated blood sugar levels, is becoming a global health concern.

Even though it’s becoming more common, new research provides fascinating information about a straightforward but powerful preventive strategy: walking. More specifically, walking speed may be a major factor in lowering the chance of type 2 diabetes development.

Here is how increasing the tempo on your regular walks could be the secret to preventing this common ailment.

Understanding type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, often termed adult-onset diabetes, historically manifested in middle and late adulthood. However, its incidence among children and adolescents is on the rise. Unlike type 1 diabetes, which results from insufficient insulin production, type 2 diabetes stems from the body’s cells resisting insulin’s effects, leading to elevated blood sugar levels and potential complications, according to Harvard Health.

The impact of walking speed
Recent findings published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shed light on the relationship between walking speed and type 2 diabetes risk. Researchers discovered that maintaining a brisk walking pace, notably above 4 kilometres per hour, was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing the condition. Moreover, for every additional kilometre per hour in walking speed, the risk decreased by 9%, underscoring the importance of picking up the pace during walks.

What does the pooled data analysis say?
A comprehensive analysis of long-term studies, encompassing over half a million adults across the USA, Japan, and the UK, provided compelling insights. Compared to leisurely strolling, walking at an average speed of 3-5 kilometres per hour was linked to a 15% reduction in type 2 diabetes risk. Furthermore, brisk walking at speeds exceeding 5 kilometres per hour correlated with a remarkable 39% decrease in risk, highlighting the dose-response relationship between walking pace and diabetes prevention.

What factors should one consider?
While the benefits of brisk walking are evident, researchers acknowledge potential limitations in the studies, including biases and the influence of participant characteristics. Factors such as overall physical activity levels and health status may confound the observed associations. Nevertheless, plausible explanations, including improved cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength, support the notion that walking speed serves as a valuable indicator of health and diabetes risk.

These are some implications and recommendations
In light of these findings, encouraging individuals to add brisk walking into their daily routines emerges as a practical strategy for diabetes prevention. While increasing total walking duration remains beneficial, emphasizing faster walking speeds could further enhance the health benefits. By striving for a brisk pace during walks, individuals can not only mitigate their risk of type 2 diabetes but also improve overall health and well-being.

Source: Timesofindia

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