According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29.1 million Americans were living with diabetes as of 2012. An additional 86 million Americans have pre-diabetes, a condition in which their blood sugar levels are elevated but not high enough to meet diagnostic criteria for diabetes. Though people with pre-diabetes do not yet have diabetes, they are at increased risk for developing the condition later in life.
Fortunately, lifestyle changes can lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Here, you will learn about five ways to reduce your risk for this disease and lower your blood sugar levels.
Add Walking to Your Routine
Light exercise such as walking can lower your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. In a 1999 study in Diabetes Care, 20 women without type 2 diabetes walked one hour per day, five days per week, for a total of 12 weeks. Their A1c levels, which are a measure of average blood sugar during the previous 2-3 month period, decreased significantly.
A second study in a 2009 edition of the same journal involved 87 individuals with abnormal blood sugar levels. Members of the intervention group in this study received an education program and were given pedometers to help them meet daily walking goals. There were also two control groups. After 12 months, those in the intervention group significantly reduced post-meal and fasting blood sugar levels, when compared to those in the control groups.
Additional research in a 2003 edition of Preventive Medicine has found a relationship between walking and lower blood sugar. This study, which included 18 overweight women with a familial history of type 2 diabetes, involved an eight-week walking program. Prior to the program, participants averaged 4,972 steps per day. After the program, they increased their daily steps to 9,213, which significantly reduced their