A new study brings a beam of hope, suggesting that a simple change in walking pace could significantly diminish the risk of Type 2 diabetes. [Source]
The study, spearheaded by Dr. Ahmad Jayedi from Semnan University of Medical Sciences, emphasizes that increasing walking speed by just one kilometer per hour can correspond to a substantial nine-percent drop in Type 2 diabetes risk.
Type 2 diabetes, a condition affecting how the body manages blood sugar, currently plagues over 537 million adults worldwide. This figure is projected to surge to 783 million by 2045. Dr. Jayedi, in a media release, highlighted the gravity of the situation, stating, “The staggering global number of adults with Type 2 diabetes…underscores the need for simple, cost-effective preventative measures.” [Source]
The research, analyzing data from 508,121 adults across the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom, spanned periods of three to 11 years. It revealed that walking at a moderate pace of 3-5 km/h (1.86-3.1 mph) yields a 15-percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes compared to a leisurely pace of less than 3 km/h (1.86 mph). Impressively, a brisk pace of 5-6 km/h (3.1-3.7 mph) links to a 24-percent reduced risk, while speeds over 6 km/h (3.7 mph) are associated with a near 39-percent lower risk.
“Walking speed is not just an indicator of overall health but also a marker of functional capacity,” Dr. Ahmad elucidates. “A faster pace indicates better cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength, factors known to be inversely associated with diabetes risk.”
This groundbreaking study aligns with the World Health Organization’s statistics on the sharp rise in Type 2 diabetes prevalence over the last three decades. Neil Gibson, senior physical activity adviser at Diabetes UK, welcomes the study’s findings, stating, “Walking is cost-free, simple and for most people can be integrated into regular activities…increasing the intensity of activity, such as by walking faster, gives greater overall health benefits.”
Despite the compelling evidence, researchers acknowledge limitations, including potential biases in some studies. Nonetheless, the correlation between faster walking speed and reduced diabetes risk remains a significant discovery.
As the world grapples with the escalating Type 2 diabetes crisis, this study offers a simple yet effective strategy: brisk walking. This not only promises to improve individual health but also holds potential as a public health intervention, accessible and feasible for the majority. As we stride towards healthier futures, perhaps it’s time to pick up the pace.