6,000 steps a day keeps diabetes at bay for middle-age women

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Here's a reason to go buy a pedometer: Moving 6,000 steps or more every day can help women avoid diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

It's not news that exercise improves health, but a recent study shows that habitual physical activity, like walking, adds up--whether you're pacing around the kitchen making dinner or walking up and down the stairs to your apartment.

Being active means 6,000 steps or more

The Brazilian study followed 292 women who were 45-72 years old. They wore pedometers and had regular health checkups for things like cholesterol and blood sugar. Women who walked more than 6,000 steps every day were considered "active," and they were found to have a much lower risk for obesity, metabolic syndrome or diabetes, regardless of whether or not they had gone through menopause. These risks usually go up after menopause, suggesting that walking could be the key to improving mid-life health for women.

The women in the "inactive" group were found to have much higher waist and hip measurements (larger waist measurements have long been thought of as a risk factor for diabetes), obesity rates and higher body mass indexes. This group was also found to have more smokers than the active group.

Setting goals for activity

The average step count for all the women in the study was 5,251 steps per day, suggesting that meeting the 6,000 mark isn't incredibly difficult, even for women who aren't currently very active.

Studies have shown that using a pedometer can help increase your average daily steps. Walking 6,000 steps is the equivalent to walking for about an hour a day.

Sources: Science Daily, Medical News Today

 
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