Increasing your walking pace can contribute to lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study.

The study found that walking at a pace of 3.7 miles per hour (mph), or 6 kilometres per hour (kph), results in a 39% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The risk is then reduced by a further nine per cent with every increase of 0.6mph or 1kph per hour in speed.

This simple exercise is something that can be performed daily by most people to help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

The study aim was to determine the optimal walking pace for avoiding the disease.

An international team of researchers analysed 10 studies, published from 1999 to 2022.

The data from a total of 508,121 adult patients, from the UK, Japan and the US, were examined.

Results highlighted that walking at a pace between 1.8mph and 3.1mph or 3kph to 5kph, compared to a pace lower than 3kph, can decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 15%.

Walking between 3.1mph and 3.7 mph, or 5kph and 6kph, reduces risk by 24%.

Walking faster is likely to be associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes because people who walk quicker are more likely to be fitter, have a greater muscle mass and be healthier overall.

Fast walking is also associated with weight loss which improves insulin sensitivity, according to experts.

The researchers explained: “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.”

Type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition whereas type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and usually diagnosed in middle age.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90% of people living with diabetes.

“Walking is cost-free, simple and for most people can be integrated into regular activities like getting to work, shopping and visiting friends,” said Neil Gibson from Diabetes UK.

“While progressing to a faster pace is usually recommended for greater health gains, it’s important that people walk at a pace that they can manage and is suitable for them.”

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