Walking Helps Treat Diabetes

According to a report by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes affects 25.8 million people, or 8.3% of the U.S. population. While genetic factors play a role, lifestyle choices are just as critical in preventing the disease. But what if you are already diagnosed with Type 2? What lifestyle choices can you make to help with treatment?

Well, the first thing to do is consult a physician and start medication. But there are some other options, as well: changing your diet and exercising. As reported in the The Chicago Tribune News:

"The first step is to optimize medications to jump-start treatment quickly," said Dr. Tim Church, a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana. "And it's never too late to cut back on sugar intake, but it turns out that exercise is a much more critical component of fighting this life-threatening condition."
"I think people put exercise on par with using margarine instead of butter," said Church. "I don't think diet is even close to being as important as exercise for treating Type 2 diabetes. This isn't a 5 or 10 percent thing. This is a 50 to 100 percent thing."

New Yorkers walking the Highline, a park re-purposed from an abandoned rail line.

Ok, exercise. Check. But which kind? Aerobic? Anaerobic?

"We've done a lot of work on this," Church said. "The bottom line is, resistance is of some benefit, and aerobic (endurance) is of a lot of benefit. Doing them both is like taking two different medications; you're hitting two different pathways." Joyner echoed these sentiments, and agreed that a combination is best, but if you can only do one, choose aerobic."

Aerobic it is. And what better way to take the initiative than to start with the easiest, most accessible aerobic exercise there is, one that humans evolved to do? That's right. Start walking!

Read the full story about Dr. Tim Church's research here.