Can You Walk Away Your Diabetes Risk With More Than 10,000 Steps Per Day?

With Christmas right around the corner, gifting yourself a Fitbit may just be a great way to keep track of those New Year's fitness resolutions. A study conducted by the University of South Australia found that fitness trackers encouraged wearers to add around 1,800 additional steps to their baseline daily. Participants lost an average of roughly 2.2 lbs in five months. Researchers noted that wearing a smartwatch to encourage walking can be an effective method to prevent conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

"I encourage and suggest to patients to wear a Fitbit or any type of smart device if it motivates them to become more active," Neal Patel, DO, told Healthline. Dr. Patel, who works as a family medicine specialist at Providence St. Joseph Hospital, added, "Having quantitative and objective real-life data that patients see in real-time is very powerful [...] [S]eeing a visual representation of their progress helps them understand their strengths and weaknesses."

However, if you don't have money to buy a smartwatch, the good news is that most smartphones can also track your steps (per How To Geek). This is good news, considering new research suggests that there's a magic number of steps you should walk daily to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. One of the study's researchers, Andrew S. Perry, M.D. said in a press release, "Our data shows the importance of moving your body every day to lower your risk of diabetes."

Ways to increase your steps per day

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers found that taking over 10,000 steps everyday is key in reducing the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. The study involved 5,777 total participants, 74% of which were women who wore Fitbits to track their daily steps. Those who walked 10,700 steps daily had 44% less risk of contracting type 2 diabetes, when compared to people who walked 6,000 steps.

Other recommendations scientists provide to reduce your risk of contracting type 2 diabetes include eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress (per Healthline). If you struggle to fit in time to go on a walk, there are easy ways to squeeze in extra steps into your daily routine. The American Heart Association recommends taking your dog out for an extra walk, bypassing the elevator and climbing the stairs, and parking in a spot further than the entrance of a building. According to the Mayo Clinic, a good way to work up to 10,000 steps is to find out your current baseline and then add 1,000 steps to that number every two weeks, eventually increasing until you get to 10,000.

It turns out 10,000 steps a day may just keep the doctor away. So, tie up those sneakers and walk the walk. After all, there's nothing to lose but the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes.