Posted on Dec 01, 2023, 6 p.m.
A pooled data analysis of available evidence published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that walking at a speed of 4 or more km per hour is linked to a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). Findings also suggest that the faster the speed the lower the risk seems to be, with every 1 km increase in speed being associated with a 9% decrease in the risk.
Walking on a regular basis and going out for a brisk stroll is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but the optimal speed required to help ward off the disease is not clear. With the rates of T2D continuing to climb from the current number of 537 million which is expected to reach 738 million by 2045, finding a low-to-no-cost simple physical activity that can be done partially anywhere is extremely important.
The researchers analyzed data from relevant long-term studies published from 1999 to 2022 and found 10 that were eligible for inclusion with monitoring periods ranging from 3-11 years for a total of 508,121 adults living in America, Japan, and the UK.
The pooled analysis revealed that an average/normal walking speed of 2-3 miles or 3-5km/hr was associated with a 15% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, irrespective of the amount of time that was spent walking compared to strolling at less than 2 miles or 3km/hr. Briskly walking at 3-4 miles/hr or 5-6km/hr was associated with a 24% lower risk compared to strolling.
Additionally, striding at a speed above 4 miles or 6km/hr was associated with a 39% lower risk compared to strolling, this is equal to 2.224 fewer cases of T2D in every 100 people. The findings also suggest that every 1km/hr increase in speed is associated with a 9% lower risk of T2D, with the minimal threshold of 4km/hr being equal to 87 steps a minute for men and 100 steps a minute for women.
The researchers noted that the study was not without limitations such as inadequate adjustments made for potentially influential factors in some of the studies regarding walking speed, muscle mass, cardiorespiratory fitness, and overall health status, so the findings need to be interpreted in light of limitations.
“Low to moderate certainty evidence, mainly from studies with a high risk of bias, suggests that walking at faster speeds is associated with a graded decrease in the risk of type 2 diabetes.”
“The present meta-analysis of cohort studies suggests that fairly brisk and brisk/striding walking, independent of the total volume of physical activity or time spent walking per day, may be associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in adults” the researchers concluded. “While current strategies to increase total walking time are beneficial, it may also be reasonable to encourage people to walk at faster speeds to further increase the health benefits of walking.”
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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