Diabetes and high blood pressure risk can be lowered by walking or cycling to work. The study included data from 20,000 people across the U.K. who completed the survey. The researchers found that walking, cycling, and using public transit were associated with lower risks of being overweight, compared to driving or taking a taxi.
Walkers had a 17 percent reduced risk of having high blood pressure, compared to drivers, and cyclists cut their risk of diabetes in half.
Researcher Anthony Laverty explained, “This study highlights that building physical activity into the daily routine by walking, cycling, or using public transport to get to work is good for personal health.”
The researchers also found great variety in transportation modes across the U.K. For example, London had the greatest public transport use rates.
“The variations between regions suggest that infrastructure and investment in public transport, walking, and cycling can play a large role in encouraging healthy lives, and that encouraging people out of the car can be good for them as well as the environment,” added Laverty.
Benefits of walking to lower diabetes and blood pressure
A previous study found that brisk walking can help improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and reduce the risk of diabetes. The researchers found that the impact of brisk walking is similar to that of running, which means, regardless of your fitness level or age, you can still manage to successfully lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and control your diabetes with an activity as easy as walking.
The researchers analyzed 33,060 runners and 15,045 walkers. They found the same amount of energy used for moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running yielded similar results when it came to controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. Principal investigator Paul T. Williams said, “Walking and running provide an ideal test of the health benefits of moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running because they involve the same muscle groups and the same activities performed at different intensities. The more the runners ran and the walkers walked, the better off they were in health benefits. If the amount of energy expended was the same between the two groups, then the health benefits were comparable.”
Williams added, “Walking may be a more sustainable activity for some people when compared to running, however, those who choose running end up exercising twice as much as those that choose walking. This is probably because they can do twice as much in an hour.”
Walking is a great and easy method of exercise in order to get your health under control. Here are just some of the many advantages of walking:
- It doesn’t require a gym membership fee – it’s free!
- It is easy to start at any fitness level
- It can improve diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, depression, and other ailments
- It promotes weight loss and reduces the risk of chronic conditions
- It is enjoyable and can be turned into a social event
- It is associated with minimal risk
- It can be done anywhere.
For these many reasons, we should all be incorporating more walking into our daily lives for better health outcomes.