For anyone looking to lower their risk of diabetes and heart disease, an increase in physical activity is a common prescription from doctors. But often the advice ends there and patients are left asking themselves, "How much additional exercise do I need?" and, "What kinds of activity should I be doing?"
A recent study shows that even moderate increases in physical activity can have a big impact on your risk for certain diseases.
The study, published in the journal Lancet, found that for people with signs of pre-diabetes, adding an additional 2,000 steps to their day decreased their risk of heart-related events (like a heart attack or stroke) by 8%. Even better, you don't have to spend hours each day in the gym to get this benefit. A moderate, 20-minute walk can give you the additional steps needed to improve your health.
"Even before the study began, for every 2,000 steps a day one participant tended to walk on average compared to another, he enjoyed a 10% lower rate of heart problems by the end of the year. During the study year, there was an additional 8% lower risk of heart disease for every 2,000 steps walked a day."
What does this mean for you?
Find ways to add additional activity to your day, and use a device like the Spark Activity Tracker to measure it. The Spark Activity Tracker is easy to use and fully integrates with your SparkPeople tools and program. Just clip it on and it records your activity throughout the day, and then automatically syncs with your computer. You can easily change your daily step goal so you can push yourself to get those extra 2,000 steps. The Spark makes it easier to make the right choices and motivates you to be more active every day. Get your Spark today to start tracking your extra steps!
Even if you don't have time for an extra 20-minute walk, think about small changes you can make to your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car further from the store and take short exercise breaks during the workday: It can all add up! You'll add 2,000 steps to your day before you know it, and you'll be on your way to better heart-health!