In a new study from the University of California San Diego, researchers found walking regularly and at greater intensity may help prevent Type 2 diabetes among 70 and 80-year-olds.
They found that for every 1,000 steps per day, our results showed a 6% lower diabetes risk in this population.
What that means is, if the average older adult were to take 2,000 more steps every day in addition to what they were already doing, they might expect a 12% reduction in diabetes risk.
In the study, the team analyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative whose aim was characterizing physical activity and cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women.
For the current prospective study, a diverse cohort of women 65 and older, who did not have a diabetes diagnosis and who lived independently, were asked to wear a research-grade accelerometer for 24 hours per day over the right hip for one week.
Their health was followed for up to seven years. Of the 4,838 women in the study, 395 or 8% developed diabetes.
Adults 65 and older often live with mobility or disability challenges. As physical activity drops their risk for Type 2 diabetes increases.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
Previous prevention studies have demonstrated that regular physical activity, along with an improved diet, reduces the risk of diabetes in adults.
In fact, the United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week to reduce the risk of numerous chronic diseases, including diabetes.
The team says it’s important, even if you have staved off diabetes, to keep with it and to incorporate regular stepping as part of your daily schedule and make it into a routine.
It’s not enough for somebody to go on a walk once a week. Our study indicates that regular stepping is indicative of lower diabetes risk in older adults.
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The study is published in Diabetes Care. One author of the study is Alexis C. Garduno.
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