Recent research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggests that walking briskly can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study highlights walking, a cost-free and straightforward form of exercise, as a method of preventing chronic diseases. The findings demonstrate that a brisker pace can lead to even more substantial health benefits, aligning with the broader consensus in the medical community about the importance of regular physical activity.
A Pace for Prevention
The study reviewed 10 previous studies, with follow-up periods between three and 11 years, including a total of 508,121 adults from the U.S, Japan, and the UK. It found that those who walked faster than 1.86mph (3km/h) were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, individuals with a speedier stride of more than 3.7mph (6km/h) lowered their risk by 39%. The research doesn’t definitively establish cause-and-effect but suggests that walking faster could result in increased physical fitness, reduced body weight, and therefore lower insulin resistance and diabetes risk.
Speed and Risk Reduction
Delving into the specifics, the study found that walking at between 3km and 5km per hour reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 15% when compared with walking at a pace of less than 3km an hour. The risk reduced further with a faster pace, with a brisk walk of between 5km and 6km associated with a 24% lower risk. Those who walked at a speed of higher than 6km an hour had a 39% lower risk of developing the condition. Essentially, the faster the pace, the lower the risk.
Quantifying Health Benefits
These findings are significant, considering that a lack of exercise and being overweight are among the factors that increase someone’s risk of developing the disease. The research suggests that walking at a moderate pace of 3-5 km/h (1.86-3.1 mph) results in a 15-percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes compared to a leisurely pace of less than 3 km/h (1.86 mph). Moreover, a brisk pace of 5-6 km/h (3.1-3.7 mph) is linked with a 24-percent reduced risk, while walking at speeds over 6 km/h (3.7 mph) is associated with an approximate 39-percent lower risk of the disease.
In conclusion, this study underscores the importance of regular physical activity in preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes. It suggests that individuals aiming to reduce their risk of developing diabetes might consider incorporating walking into their routine, adjusting the intensity to suit their fitness levels. Increasing walking speed by just one kilometer per hour (0.62 mph) can correlate with a nine-percent drop in the risk of developing the most common form of diabetes, providing a simple and cost-free method for health improvement.