A new study in the British Medical Journal suggest that building up to 10,000 steps a day over time can help control weight and may reduce diabetes risk.
Researchers found that the study participants (592 middle-aged Australian adults) who increased the number of their steps over a five year period, had a lower BMI, less belly fat and better insulin sensitivity than those who did not take as many daily steps over the same time frame.
The researchers concluded that an inactive person who takes few daily steps but increases walking distance over five years to reach a 10,000-steps/day goal (about five miles a day) would have a threefold improvement in insulin sensitivity compared with a similar person who increases his or her steps to only about 3,000 per day.
It’s important to work your way up to 10,000 steps/day and not significantly jump your step count. A good rule of thumb is to increase your current step count by 20% each week.