This article is part of the Research Topic Lifestyles: The cornerstone of diabetes treatment

Mini Review ARTICLE

Front. Endocrinol., 19 November 2012 |

Steps to preventing Type 2 diabetes: exercise, walk more, or sit less?

  • Walking Behavior Laboratory, Population Sciences, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA

Accumulated evidence supports the promotion of structured exercise for treating prediabetes and preventing Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, contemporary societal changes in lifestyle behaviors (occupational, domestic, transportation, and leisure-time) have resulted in a notable widespread deficiency of non-exercise physical activity (e.g., ambulatory activity undertaken outside the context of purposeful exercise) that has been simultaneously exchanged for an excess in sedentary behaviors (e.g., desk work, labor saving devices, motor vehicle travel, and screen-based leisure-time pursuits). It is possible that the known beneficial effects of more structured forms of exercise are attenuated or otherwise undermined against this backdrop of normalized and ubiquitous slothful living. Although public health guidelines have traditionally focused on promoting a detailed exercise prescription, it is evident that the emergent need is to revise and expand the message to address this insidious and deleterious lifestyle shift. Specifically, we recommend that adults avoid averaging <5,000 steps/day and strive to average ≥7,500 steps/day, of which ≥3,000 steps (representing at least 30 min) should be taken at a cadence ≥100 steps/min. They should also practice regularly breaking up extended bouts of sitting with ambulatory activity. Simply put, we must consider advocating a whole message to “walk more, sit less, and exercise.”

Keywords: walking, exercise therapy, sedentary lifestyle, training, guidelines

Citation: Tudor-Locke C and Schuna JM Jr (2012) Steps to preventing Type 2 diabetes: exercise, walk more, or sit less? Front. Endocrin. 3:142. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2012.00142

Received: 18 September 2012; Paper pending published: 11 October 2012;
Accepted: 31 October 2012; Published online: 19 November 2012.

Edited by:

Catherine Chan, University of Alberta, Canada

Reviewed by:

Shinichi Oikawa, Nippon Medical School, Japan
Undurti N. Das, UND Life Sciences, USA

Copyright: © 2012 Tudor-Locke and Schuna. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Catrine Tudor-Locke, Walking Behavior Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA. e-mail: