Supervised Pedometer Walking May Improve Quality of Life in Diabetes

From improving insulin sensitivity to reducing blood glucose levels to controlling weight, the many benefits of regular physical activity for people with diabetes are well known. Now, new research from India indicates that just 30–40 minutes a day of walking with a pedometer can help improve the quality of life in adults with Type 2 diabetes. An estimated 26 million people in the United States and more than 60 million people in India have Type 2.

To determine the effectiveness of various walking programs at improving well-being in people with Type 2 diabetes, researchers from Guru Nanak Dev University recruited 28 women and 74 men with the condition. The participants, who were all between the ages of 40 and 70, were randomly assigned to one of three groups that were followed for 16 weeks: a supervised exercise group (Group A), a self-reported exercise group (Group B), and a control group (Group C).

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The members of Group A were provided with pedometers and encouraged to walk for approximately 150 minutes a week (in 30- to 40-minute sessions) under the guidance of a physiotherapist. Those in Group B were provided with a pedometer that they were instructed to wear from waking until sleeping five days a week and were instructed to aim for 10,000 steps a day, recording their total step count in a logbook. Those in Group C were told to maintain their usual routines but were encouraged to walk. At both the beginning and end of the study, all subjects filled out a questionnaire evaluating various aspects of their quality of life.

The researchers found that participants in Group A, the supervised walking group, experienced improvements in areas such as self-confidence and their opinion of their physical appearance. Those in Group B, the self-reported exercise group, experienced similar improvements, although in fewer quality-of-life domains than members of Group A.

“The results of this study clearly imply that 30 to 40 minutes per day/session of moderate-intensity walking with [a] pedometer is an effective method for the sedentary Type 2 individuals to enhance quality of life,” the researchers note.

For more information, read the article “Pedometer-based supervised walking benefited adults with Type 2 diabetes” or see the study’s abstract in the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders. And for step-by-step instructions on training for a walkathon, see this article by exercise physiologist and Olympian Werner Hoeger, EdD.