Background: Physical activity (PA) has been shown to benefit glucose tolerance. Walking is a convenient low-impact mode of PA and is reported to be the most commonly performed activity for those with diabetes. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a recommendation to accumulate 10,000 steps/day for 8 weeks was effective at improving glucose tolerance in overweight, inactive women.
Methods: Eighteen women (53.3 +/- 7.0 years old, 35.0 +/- 5.1 kg/m(2)) with a family history of type 2 diabetes completed a 4-week control period followed by an 8-week walking program with no changes in diet. The walking program provided a goal of accumulating at least 10,000 steps/day, monitored by a pedometer.
Results: During the control period, participants walked 4972 steps/day. During the intervention period, the participants increased their accumulated steps/day by 85% to 9213, which resulted in beneficial changes in 2-h postload glucose levels (P < 0.001), AUC(glucose) (P = 0.025), systolic blood pressure (P < 0.001), and diastolic blood pressure (P = 0.002). There were no changes in body mass, body fat percentage, and waist circumference during the walking intervention.
Conclusions: The 10,000 steps/day recommendation resulted in improved glucose tolerance and a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in overweight women at risk for type 2 diabetes. This demonstrates that activity can be accumulated throughout the day and does not have to result in weight loss to benefit this population.