February 25, 2024
Type 2 Diabetes

Faster Walking Speed of 4 km+/Hour Associated with Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A new study suggests that walking at a speed of 4 or more km/hour is linked to a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The findings, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, show that increasing walking speed by just 1 km/hour is associated with a 9% reduction in risk.

The researchers analyzed data from 10 long-term studies involving a total of 508,121 adults from the U.S., Japan, and the UK. The analysis revealed that walking at an average speed of 2–3 miles or 3–5 km/hour was associated with a 15% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to strolling at a slower pace. Walking at a brisk speed of 3–4 miles or 5–6 km/hour was linked to a 24% lower risk, while walking at a speed above 4 miles or 6 km/hour was associated with a reduced risk of around 39%.

The study also found that every 1 km/hour increase in walking speed led to a 9% decrease in the risk of type 2 diabetes. This suggests that walking at a minimum speed of 4 km/hour, which is equivalent to approximately 87 steps/minute for men and 100 steps/minute for women, may be beneficial in lowering the risk.

The researchers highlight the importance of regular physical activity in preventing type 2 diabetes, as the global number of adults with the disease is expected to reach 783 million by 2045. Walking not only reduces the risk of diabetes but also offers various social, mental, and physical health benefits.

While the study provides valuable insights into the relationship between walking speed and diabetes risk, the researchers acknowledge some limitations. Several of the included studies were rated as having a moderate or serious risk of bias, and reverse causality may be a factor, as individuals with faster walking speeds tend to have better overall health and physical fitness.

Nevertheless, the findings support the notion that walking speed is a crucial indicator of health and functional capacity. Faster walking speed is associated with improved cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, and insulin sensitivity, all of which contribute to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

The researchers conclude that promoting faster walking speeds may further enhance the health benefits of walking. While increasing the total volume of physical activity is beneficial, encouraging individuals to walk at brisker speeds could be an additional strategy to prevent type 2 diabetes in adults.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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