Nordic Walking to Prevent Type-2 Diabetes

Mary Tweed
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Last week, the Government announced a new initiative to combat the rising numbers of people with Type-2 diabetes. People who are identified as being at risk of developing the disease are to be offered thirteen sessions with an advisor to focus on exercise, education and lifestyle changes that will improve their health and prevent them from developing full blown Type-2 diabetes. The programme is launched this Spring and will be offered to 20,000 this year, rising to 100,000 people by 2020.

There are currently 2.6 million people in England, who live with Type-2 diabetes, with 200,00 new diagnoses made every year. It costs the country £10 billion every year, which is more than is spent on the police and fire services combined and yet 80% of cases are preventable. The two most significant causes of Type-2 diabetes are weight gain and leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Recent research has shown that those diagnosed within the last four years are able to reverse their diagnosis by following a strict low calorie diet under medical supervision, revealing just how important diet is to healthy living. For those who want to avoid a diagnosis, medical advice is that a healthy balanced diet should be followed and that sugar intake, in particular, ought to be restricted.

The other factor that has resulted in the high numbers of Type-2 diagnoses is our increasingly inactive lifestyle. Exercise is a key component in combatting the rising figures, as exercise helps the body to use insulin more effectively, thus reducing the blood sugar levels. Nordic Walking is an ideal form of exercise, as it has been proven to aid weight loss effectively, as participants burn between 20-46% more calories than with normal walking. The increased muscle activity stimulates the metabolism, increases blood circulation and trains the cardio vascular system. This is due to the correct use of poles, which engages the upper body muscles, thus working 90% of the skeletal muscles. For every one kilogram of weight lost, a person reduces their risk of developing diabetes by a massive 16%. Once people have lost weight it is vital that people learn to control their weight; regular Nordic Walking promotes weight maintenance in a fun and sociable form. By taking up your poles on a regular basis and enjoying the beautiful Suffolk countryside, you will be investing in a healthy long life, as well as helping the NHS.

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