Baby steps to boost health as diabetes risk steps up

TODAY is Walk to Work Day – an opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits of light exercise. 

Diabetes Australia has called on communities to stop making excuses and start walking to help ward off type 2 diabetes.

“Walking is one of the best ways to help people reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” chief executive officer Greg Johnson said. 

“It also helps people who have type 2 diabetes manage their condition.

“With around 280 Australians developing diabetes every day, diabetes is the single biggest challenge facing Australia’s health system.”

Bendigo Health Women’s Ward staffers Matilda Vernon, Dr Frances Harkin and Naomi Roberts said they had been walking more since the new hospital opened. 

In addition to the increased campus size, they said they enjoyed spending time in the gardens and landscaped areas.

“Employees who walk regularly are generally more productive, have less stress and are less likely to be sick or absent,” Professor Johnson said.

Harold Scruby, of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, said reducing sedentary behaviour could reduce other risk factors such as stroke, heart disease, and various types of cancer. 

“Let’s not make any more excuses,” he said.

“Most of us can walk at least one kilometre to and from work, set the alarm 30 minutes earlier and create a great example for all Australians.

“Regular walking helps relieve feelings of depression or anxiety and improves our environment by reducing car dependency and traffic jams. Best of all, walking is free.”

Suggestions to step up light exercise include taking the stairs instead of an escalator or elevator, walking to and from work, taking a walk at lunchtime and arranging walking meetings.

Further information about Walk to Work Day is available here.