Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

38 Minutes to Better Health With Diabetes

Walking that much (or more) improves health of diabetes patients, says study

Step 4: Get Going

All the knowledge in the world won't help if it just gathers dust in the brain. At some point, action has to be taken.

No one made the study's subjects use what they learned in the counseling program. Instead, di Loretto and colleagues sat back and watched what happened for the next two years. (Yes, two years. Think fundamental change, not short-term exercise binge.)

Participants filled out activity surveys every three months. They were also asked to record their activities every day. Those who were overweight or obese got 300 calories trimmed from their daily diets.

Some people didn't budge much, sticking to their usual activity level. Others walked a bit more than before, and some radically ramped up their activity level.

Step 5: Reap the Rewards

Their efforts paid off. The least amount of additional activity that helped blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar was 38 minutes per day (about 2.2 miles). That was over and above whatever participants were already doing.

Bump that up to an hour (walking about 3 miles), and people had greater improvements plus some weight loss (which didn't happen at lower levels of exercise). Those who were even more active improved most, says the study.

Ideally, the researchers say they recommend walking 3 miles in an hour every day (or getting an equivalent amount of exercise). That's a "reasonable target," they say, noting that greater activity levels yielded even better results.

Exercise may be particularly effective in slashing belly fat, says the study. Fat waistlines have been shown to be less healthy than fat in other parts of the body (such as the hips).

Step 6: Enjoy a Fatter Wallet

Besides boosting health, activity also cut the amount of money participants spent on medical costs. The more active they were, the less they forked out for health care expenses.

"Over two years, prescription costs, which were usually medication for diabetes, [high blood pressure], and dyslipidemia [cholesterol and other lipid problems], were reduced by $259 and other healthcare costs by $259 per capita per year in the entire group, even after allowing for the costs of counseling, which took a physician 75 minutes over the first year and 60 minutes over the second," says the study.

Those figures may not translate directly to the U.S., where medical costs are generally higher than in Italy, say the researchers.

1|2

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

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

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