According to researchers, simply walking 10,000 steps daily not only lowers body mass index (BMI), but also enhances a person’s insulin sensitivity and lowers diabetes risk.
Link between walking and diabetes risk explored
In order to assess the link between daily step count and diabetes risk, the researchers at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne conducted a study. For the purpose of the study, they analyzed data of 592 middle-aged adults who took part in a study to gauge diabetes rates across Australia between 2000 and 2005. At the onset of the study, all the study subjects underwent a comprehensive health check-up. In addition, they were questioned about their dietary patterns and lifestyle habits. The investigators also took into account alcohol consumption and smoking. All the participants were provided with a pedometer, an electronic device worn at the hip that keeps track of the number of steps taken by an individual.
Outcome of the study
The researchers found that around 65 percent of the participants demonstrated a decline in step counts over the study period while 35.5 percent increased their step counts. A follow-up after a period of five years found that people who recorded a high daily step count exhibited lower BMI, a reduction in abdominal fat and an improvement in insulin sensitivity. It was noted that participants who took 10,000 walking steps every day, five times a week, improved their insulin sensitivity threefold compared to those who walked just 3,000 steps a day. Moreover, increasing the number of steps from 3,000 to 10,000 each day exhibited dramatic health benefits that over time. Lead author of the study, Terry Dwyer stated, “These findings provide further support to promote higher physical activity levels among adults. “These findings, confirming an independent beneficial role of higher daily step count on body mass index, waist to hip ratio, and insulin sensitivity, provide further support to promote higher physical activity levels among middle aged adults.” The study is published in the ‘British Medical Journal.’