Walking not only aids in weight loss but also reduces the risk of diabetes. What's the most effective way to walk?


The prevalence of diabetes remains high, and the latest study from the UK indicates that brisk walking can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, how fast should one walk?

Diabetes easily leads to complex complications and multiple comorbidities, including cardiovascular diseases, kidney problems, dementia, and even cancer, posing a threat to life and creating significant medical burdens.

A recent study by the Imperial College London research team found that brisk walking helps lower the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers reviewed medical records from over 500,000 participants across 10 studies conducted between 1999 and 2022. They assessed the association between walking speeds of adults in the US, UK, and Japan and the development of type 2 diabetes.

Want to stay away from diabetes? Scientists say: The faster, the better! Published in the "British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM)," the study, with an average 8-year follow-up, discovered that compared to casual strolling, individuals walking at an average speed of 3 to 5 kilometers per hour reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 15%. For those walking at speeds ranging from 5 to 6 kilometers per hour, the risk decreased by 24%, and for those walking at speeds exceeding 6 kilometers per hour, the risk decreased by 39%. For every additional 1 kilometer in walking speed, the risk of developing diabetes decreased by 9%.

The faster the walking pace, the lower the risk of contracting the disease. Experts suggest that this could be due to faster walkers being healthier and having greater muscle mass. The research team pointed out that type 2 diabetes is often linked to obesity, and brisk Walking not only helps reduce the risk of diabetes but also aids in weight loss and improves insulin sensitivity.

A faster walking pace indicates better cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength. Dr. Liu Peng-Chi, a family medicine physician at Shin Kong Hospital, mentioned that based on this study, it aligns with the medical field's consistent advice for patients with metabolic diseases. " We would recommend moderate to high-intensity exercise. Being able to handle moderate to high-intensity exercise signifies good cardiovascular function, the ability to exercise muscle strength, increase muscle mass, and helps improve insulin resistance, all of which are targets we hope diabetic patients focus on."

Additionally, for the elderly population, walking speed is often used to infer the presence of sarcopenia. So fundamentally, being able to walk fast indicates whether muscles can coordinate, whether there's sufficient nerve drive, and whether there's enough balance ability. Dr. Liu Peng -Chi recommends aiming for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Generally, moderate intensity means being slightly out of breath during exercise but not being able to sing. However, for middle-aged and elderly individuals who don't exercise regularly, they should gradually adjust based on their own conditions.


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