Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Walk Away From Diabetes Risks

Walking Reduces Risk of Diabetes-Related Death and Heart Disease
Font Size
A
A
A

WebMD Health News

June 24, 2003 -- Need another reason to put your walking shoes on and hit the pavement? Walking not only lowers the risk of developing lifelong diseases like diabetes, but a new study shows it can cut the chance of dying in half for people who already have diabetes.

Regular physical activity like walking produces healthy benefits, such as reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and death, among the general population. In addition, several studies have shown that regular physical activity can help people who already have diabetes keep their blood sugar under control.

But researchers say less is known about the long-term health benefits of walking for people with diabetes. People with diabetes are at increased risk for a variety of conditions, such as heart disease and stroke that raise the risk of death.

Live Longer

In this study, published in the June 23 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, CDC researchers compared the risk of heart-related death or death from any cause among some 2,900 adults with diabetes.

They found that compared with adults who didn't walk at all, those who walked at least two hours per week had a 39% lower risk of death from any cause and a 34% lower risk of heart-related death.

People who were even more physically active and walked at least three hours a week had an even greater reduction in risk with a 54% lower risk of death from any cause and 53% lower risk of heart-related death.

Researchers say the results suggest that one death per year may be preventable for every 61 people with diabetes who walk at least two hours a week.

Best Medicine

In an editorial that accompanies the study, Frank Hu, MD, PhD, of the Harvard School of Public Health and JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, say the finding has tremendous potential for reducing the risks commonly associated with diabetes.

The benefits of a moderate amount of walking appear to be even greater than those achieved through current diabetes treatments, including tight blood pressure control, lowering cholesterol, and strict blood sugar control, they write.

"For the vast majority of the population, the benefits of walking are enormous, with little or no harm. So far, walking is probably the 'best medicine' for both prevention and treatment of diabetes mellitus," they conclude.

SOURCE: The Archives of Internal Medicine, June 23, 2003.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article