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Walking could be the easiest, least expensive exercise, and it is proven to help shed pounds and improve glucose levels. An Australian study looks at post-menopausal type 2 women, and how walking changed their health.
It is common for women to develop centralized (around the middle) body fat after menopause. Coupled with reduced levels of general exercise, this can often lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, which can reduce cardiovascular function. Walking is one safe, convenient and accessible form of moderately intense exercise that could help improve cardiovascular function in these women.
Researchers in Australia examined the effects of a regular program of walking, without the addition of a reduced-calorie diet, to determine the impact walking has on body composition and cardiovascular risk in overweight, post-menopausal women with type 2 diabetes. The results of the study were published in the April issue of Diabetes Care.
Thirty-one women, ages 56 and older, were observed. The women were divided into two groups:
The study was conducted for a 12-week period. Women followed their regular diets, but were prescribed a walking program which consisted of 60-minute walks at least five times per week. All of the women in both groups were overweight. There was no significant difference in the amount of upper body fat, nor was waist circumference different.
After 12 weeks, both groups reported walking an average of six times per week. Women in the nondiabetic group reported walking an average of 4.8 hours each week, while the women with type 2 diabetes reported walking an average of 4.1 hours per week. In the nondiabetic group, there was no change in body weight, waist circumference, upper body, lower body, or waist fat. The type 2 women, on the other hand, lost an average of 5.3 pounds over the 12-week period.
In the women with type 2 diabetes, HbA1cs were reduced from an average of 7.78% to 7.19%, and fasting blood glucose levels fell from an average of 167.22 mg/dl to 148.32 mg/dl. Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol concentration also fell significantly in the type 2 group.
The researchers conclude that a 12-week walking program is associated with loss of centralized body fat in women with type 2 diabetes. Because both groups of women reported similar dietary intakes, the researchers were unable to determine if fat loss between the two groups could be attributed to energy expenditure or reduced food intake.
The researchers agree that walking is a form of moderate exercise that can be safely performed by post-menopausal women, and is easily incorporated into a daily routine.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.