Walk Off Your Diabetes Risk, Study Suggests

by Chris Curley on July 2, 2012

Getting even a small amount of walking exercise can reduce your risk of developing diabetes if you’re at high risk for the disorder, a new study shows.

Among a group of of adults who got low levels of daily physical activity (a major risk factor for diabetes), 17 percent of those who took less than 3,500 steps developed diabetes after five years compared to 12 percent of those who took more than 3,500 steps, a new study led by researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle says.

Those who walked the most had a 29-percent lower chance of developing the disease than those who walked the least, Reuters reported June 29.

Doctors typically recommend that healthy adults take around 10,000 steps per day, so by that measure 3,500 steps is relatively inactive — less than two miles’ worth of combined walking throughout the day, the researchers note.

More intense, regular, vigorous physical activity can reduce your risk of diabetes even further (and perhaps cure the disease after you already have it), but regardless, some physical activity is always better than none, previous studies show.

The research appears online in the journal Diabetes Care.