Walking Benefits : Reduce the Risk of Diabetes and High Blood Pressure with Walking

There are many benefits of walking for people of all ages, and walking can also prevent many lifestyle diseases, thus prolonging your life. Not only is walking free to do and easy to accommodate into your day to day routine, but all you need to start walking is just a good pair of walking shoes. While the benefits of walking are well-known, researchers have now found that walking every day can help lower the risk of high blood pressure as well as diabetes. Daily walking can also decrease the levels of stress and also boost your immune system. Read on to find out everything you need to know about reducing the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure with walking.

Benefits of Walking

Walking is the easiest physical activity you can practice if you want to reap the benefits of exercise.(1,2) Walking offers various health benefits, and all you need to do this free activity is a good pair of walking shoes. The first and most obvious benefit of walking is that walking helps you burn calories, which helps you lose weight.(3) Walking is an excellent exercise for overweight or obese people who want to lose weight or control their weight.(4) According to the American Heart Association, walking for just half an hour at least five days a week can help significantly lower the risk for coronary heart disease by 19 percent.(5,6) This risk is said to go down even further when you increase the distance or duration of walking each day.

Walking is also known to help relieve joint pain and helps protect the joints, including your hips and knees. This is because walking helps strengthen and lubricate the muscles that provide support to these joints. Walking, therefore, is said to be beneficial for people with arthritis and helps reduce arthritis-related pain.(7)

Walking also helps boost your immune system and reduces the risk of developing the flu or cold. A study observed 1000 adults during the flu season. The study found that those participants who walked at a moderate pace for at least 30 to 40 minutes each day had taken 43 percent lesser sick days and also experienced fewer upper respiratory tract infections during the year.(8)

  • The study also found that these participants experienced less severe symptoms if they did end up getting sick. These results were compared to adults who were sedentary and did not actively practice walking.
  • Going for a walk around the block is also a great way to boost your energy rather than having a cup of coffee.(9) Walking helps boost the oxygen flow through your body and increases the levels of various hormones, including epinephrine, Norepinephrine, and cortisol. These hormones are all associated with increasing your energy levels.
  • Walking daily can be the best and easiest form of exercise for people of all fitness levels and ages. Apart from the benefits mentioned above, let us take a look at how walking can reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.

Reduce the Risk of Diabetes and High Blood Pressure with Walking

New research has found that walking daily can help reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. The study has shown that walking daily can decrease stress and also boost the immune system.

The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, there are more than 100 million people in the United States alone that have prediabetes or diabetes.(10) Similarly, the American Heart Association estimates that more than 100 million Americans are suffering from high blood pressure.(11)

While these numbers are rising at an alarming rate each year, a new research study says that there is an effortless way of reducing the risk of either of these diseases, just by walking every day.

Two new studies that have been released just recently have shown that even a minimal amount of walking can provide you with health benefits.

The first study, published in March 2020, found that people who walk anywhere between 4000 and 8000 steps in a day can easily reduce the risk of death from heart disease or cancer by nearly two-thirds.(12)

The researchers further added that people who regularly walk more than 12,000 steps every day could reduce these risks by nearly 90 percent.

A second study also carried out in 2020 found that middle-aged participants of the study who were walking the most number of steps every day over an average of the last nine years had a 43 percent reduced risk of developing diabetes. They also had a 31 percent lower risk of developing hypertension or high blood pressure.(13)

The first study was carried out by the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, US. It was based on data collected from 1,923 participants who were part of the national Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. The researchers of this study also concluded that every set of 1,000 steps taken each day for the last nine years helped lower the risk of obesity by 13% in women who are middle-aged.

However, the study did not show any link between the number of steps taken every day and a lowered risk of obesity in middle-aged men.

Conclusion: How To Get Your Steps In For The Day?

Building a regular habit of working is more important than indulging in brisk walking. Here are some tips to help you incorporate more walking as part of your daily life:

  • Choose to take the stairs at work.
  • Avoid doing online shopping and make an effort to physically go to the store. Try to park your vehicle farther from the store, so you have to walk to reach the entrance.
  • Walk your dog.
  • Track your exercise closely, and enjoy your improvements.
  • Walk with a friend rather than grabbing a meal together when you decide to socialize.
  • Carry out short ’bouts’ of walking while you are doing some other activity such as watching television or reading.
  • Carry on your work conversations or family meetings while walking.

References:

  1. Murtagh, E.M., Murphy, M.H. and Boone-Heinonen, J., 2010. Walking–the first steps in cardiovascular disease prevention. Current opinion in cardiology, 25(5), p.490.
  2. Sell, T.C., Abt, J.P. and Lephart, S.M., 2008. Physical activity-related benefits of walking during golf. In Science and Golf V: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf (pp. 128-132).
  3. Baker, E.H., Milner, A.N. and Campbell, A.D., 2015. Walking programs to promote weight loss among obese and overweight individuals: Walking buses for adults. Public health, 129(6), p.822.
  4. Baker, E.H., Milner, A.N. and Campbell, A.D., 2015. Walking programs to promote weight loss among obese and overweight individuals: Walking buses for adults. Public health, 129(6), p.822.
  5. www.heart.org. 2020. American Heart Association. [online] Available at: <https://www.heart.org/#.W1iqmthKiu0> [Accessed 8 June 2020].
  6. Zheng, H., Orsini, N., Amin, J., Wolk, A. and Ehrlich, F., 2009. Quantifying the dose-response of walking in reducing coronary heart disease risk: meta-analysis. European journal of epidemiology, 24(4), pp.181-192.
  7. Waters, R.L., Perry, J., Conaty, P., Lunsford, B.R.E.N.D.A. and O’Meara, P.A.T.R.I.C.K., 1987. The energy cost of walking with arthritis of the hip and knee. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, (214), pp.278-284.
  8. Nieman, D.C., Henson, D.A., Austin, M.D. and Sha, W., 2011. Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45(12), pp.987-992.
  9. Randolph, D.D. and O’Connor, P.J., 2017. Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep deprived young women. Physiology & behavior, 174, pp.128-135.
  10. CDC. 2020. CDC Press Releases. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html> [Accessed 8 June 2020].
  11. www.heart.org. 2020. More Than 100 Million Americans Have High Blood Pressure, AHA Says. [online] Available at: <https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/05/01/more-than-100-million-americans-have-high-blood-pressure-aha-says> [Accessed 8 June 2020].
  12. Saint-Maurice, P.F., Troiano, R.P., Bassett, D.R., Graubard, B.I., Carlson, S.A., Shiroma, E.J., Fulton, J.E. and Matthews, C.E., 2020. Association of daily step count and step intensity with mortality among US adults. Jama, 323(12), pp.1151-1160.
  13. American Heart Association. 2020. More Steps-Per-Day Linked To Significant Reductions In Diabetes And High Blood Pressure. [online] Available at: <https://newsroom.heart.org/news/more-steps-per-day-linked-to-significant-reductions-in-diabetes-and-high-blood-pressure?preview=33a3> [Accessed 9 June 2020].

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