Walking is the simplest action there is and also the form of gymnastics that is most accessible to all. We have already had the opportunity to focus on the health properties of a walk, talking about the benefits on mood, heart, immune system and visceral fat. Today we focus on the fact that walking can really become a medicine against various diseases, such as diabetes but also hypertension, back pain and even sleep apnea. But let's go deeper, also evaluating how many steps per day are recommended by scientists. Also keep in mind that the app has a section with a pedometer to help you keep fit and healthy!
Walking and blood sugar
Just make sure to do at least 3500 steps a day to see your risk of developing type 2 diabetes drop by almost 30%. This is what emerges from a very interesting scientific research (Fretts et al, Journal Diabetes Care, 2012) that shows that small changes to one's lifestyle, making it less sedentary with a moderate increase of physical activity, can really be a great investment in health. And the benefits have also been seen in people at risk of developing diabetes and in the presence of obesity. Therefore, there is no excuse, a few more steps a day help to reduce blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity and help keep body weight under control, averting the risk of diabetes.
Walking and hypertension
Walking helps reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This beneficial effect was observed in both genders and for all ages, in both young and older people (Lee et al, Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2021). The beneficial action on blood pressure was observed with an activity of about 10,000 steps per day on average (Soroush et al, Asian J Sports Med., 2013).
Walking and sleep apnea
It may happen that while we sleep, in particular conditions, we encounter real apneas caused by total or partial interruptions of the airways during sleep. This can be favored by conditions such as obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, obstruction of the nose and throat and sleeping pills and the consequences, during the day, can be excessive sleepiness, difficulty concentrating but also headaches upon waking up. A training program, which led study participants to walk from 20 minutes to 45 minutes a day over a six-month period, was observed to improve sleep apnea by reducing related symptoms such as fatigue and sleepiness during the day and generally bringing benefits and a feeling of greater well-being to the whole body. Not only that, this training program has also made it possible to reduce body weight that, if in excess, can increase the risk of sleep apnea (Jurado Garcia et al, Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2020).
Walking and back pain
Back pain, especially low back pain, can also benefit from walking. In fact, walking has been observed to relieve back pain and improve mobility in people with chronic low back pain (Sitthipornvorakul et al, Musculoskelet Sci Pract, 2018). Benefits were seen as early as ten minutes of walking on a treadmill at one's own pace. The most interesting part, in addition to the fact that the walking pace is customizable, is that the beneficial action on back pain was observed immediately after the session. The explanation for this effect is that endorphins are released during physical activity, thus counteracting pain (Hendrick et al, Eur Spine J, 2010).