two miles may not seem like a big deal to the driver of an
automobile or a bicyclist, but for many women at risk for
diabetes, walking a few extra miles can mean something significant:
years of life gained.
Most sedentary people take between 4,000-6,000 steps per
day. For people who are overweight and/or suffer from diabetes,
that number can be even lower - and more difficult to achieve.
In this eight-week study, 18 women at risk for diabetes walked
increasing distances, beginning at approximately 5,000 steps
for the first four "control" weeks, then progressing to more
than 9,000 steps, counted by pedometers.
The near-10,000-step goal is consistent with exercise guidelines
established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
and the American College of Sports Medicine. By increasing
their steps taken daily by 85 percent, (close to two miles)
without altering their diets, the women saw improvements in
glucose (blood sugar) tolerance and a surprising decrease
in resting blood pressure. (When the body cannot utilize glucose
efficiently, diabetes results.)
There are probably several times that you drive somewhere,
when you actually could walk. When you're about to jump in
that car, think about the 10,000-steps rule, put those keys
in your pocket, and start walking toward good health!
Swartz AM, et al. Increasing daily walking improves glucose
tolerance in overweight women. Preventive Medicine 2003:37(4),
for more about exercise.