Saturday, July 2, 2011

Type 2 Diabetes - How Walking Lowers Your Diabetes Risk

Weight-loss experts agree that no weight-loss plan is likely to work unless it includes physical activity. Physical activity burns calories and tones your muscles. It also boosts your muscle cells' insulin sensitivity, making your body more efficient at using glucose and thereby lowering your blood sugar level. People who exercise are more successful in keeping their weight off in the long-term than people who simply watch what they eat.

When looking for a good exercise to do in order to lower your Type 2 diabetes risk, you have to look no further than walking. Why not start to become more physically active by walking even 10 minutes at first. You could then gradually build up the time and introduce simple strengthening exercises into your routine.

Recent research shows that building up to 10,000 steps per day can not only help you to control your weight, but it may also reduce your risk of developing full-blown Type 2 diabetes.

The recent study was conducted with 592 middle-aged Australian adults. The participants increased the number of steps they took during a five-year period as they built up to 10,000 steps per day. As a result, they had:

    * a lower body mass index,
    * better insulin sensitivity, and
    * less belly fat

Then their counterparts who didn't take that many steps daily during the same period of time.

Insulin resistance occurs when the body's cells can no longer respond well to the action of the hormone. Insulin assists the body in using blood sugar for energy. As the pancreas tries to compensate, it produces even more insulin. In the end, the pancreas just can't keep up with the demand which causes extra blood sugar to build up throughout the bloodstream. Now, the stage is set for Type 2 diabetes.

The good news is losing weight, especially around the abdominal area, helps to increase insulin sensitivity. This is why researchers believe walking 10,000 steps per day not only assists in weight loss, but also reduces body fat and improves the risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes.

The easiest way to know how many steps per day you are taking is by purchasing an inexpensive pedometer. Every time you take a step, it's counted on your pedometer. You can slowly build your way up to 5000, 7500 and finally 10,000 steps per day. This is also a great way to encourage your children to be more active in this often sedentary world.

In the end, the study showed the diabetics who built up to 10,000 steps a day and continued taking that many steps, had a threefold improvement in their insulin sensitivity at the five-year mark over the other participants who only managed to increase their steps by up to only 3000 per day.

It may take some time to increase your daily step count up to 10,000, but remember you are helping to improve your health and diabetes risk factors with every single step you take. As with anything, it takes consistency and determination to get 10,000 steps on your pedometer each day. However, it will be well worth it in the end.

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