The Healthiest Walking Workout For Diabetics

Flatten abs, rev energy, and stabilize blood sugar with our easy routine.

There’s no question that walking is great for everyone: It dramatically boosts energy levels, fights fat, and protects your heart. But if you have high blood sugar, or if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, walking can be a lifesaver.

“Walking is one of the best types of ‘medicine’ we have to help prevent diabetes, or reduce its severity and potential complications—such as heart attack and stroke—if you already have it,” says JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Women who did at least 30 minutes daily of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, slashed their risk of diabetes by 30%, found the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study. Even a single 90-minute session of aerobic exercise improved blood sugar control in at-risk women, according to research at the University of Michigan.

Walking also shrinks dangerous abdominal fat that raises your risk of diabetes. Excess fat around your abdomen causes inflammation in cells, making them even more resistant to insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar; this increases your odds of developing the disease. A Canadian study found that women who walked briskly for about an hour a day decreased their belly fat by 20% after 14 weeks—without changing their eating habits.

That’s why walking is a key component of Prevention’s Diabetes DTOUR Diet, an eating and exercise plan designed to help you prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. The science-based DTOUR workout combines powerful cardio walks with toning workouts. “Together, the two build lean muscle and help reduce body fat—a combination that can dramatically improve blood sugar,” says Francine R. Kaufman, MD, medical advisor for The Diabetes DTOUR Diet and head of the Center for Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

No one knows that better than Debbie Bouldin, 48, who test-drove DTOUR’s diet and exercise regimen. In only 6 weeks, she dropped nearly 11 pounds and lowered her blood sugar 23 points. “I haven’t felt this good since I was in my 20s,” she says.

Here’s a modified version so you can get started today. In just 2 weeks, you could lose a few pounds, shrink your waistline, and improve your blood sugar levels!