Traditional treatment for conditions such as type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases focused mainly on different kinds of medication to prevent further progression. However, the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center (RIMUHC) discovered that a step-count prescription with combined medication can produce significant health benefits.
According to the study, people are recommended to walk 10,000 steps daily to be able to experience its health benefits. Those who are walking under 5,000 steps are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
Physicians would usually provide instructions on how to take the medications and would advice their patients to incorporate daily exercise to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. A 30-minute walk daily can already make a huge impact towards health. By providing patients with pedometers, it may be easier to quantify the daily physical activity most especially on patients who do not go to the gym or incorporate running in their daily routine.
The team of researchers led by Dr, Kaberi Dasgupta, a physician researcher at the RIMUHC discovered the effectiveness of issuing real prescriptions for physical activity via step count. “As physicians, we have to face the reality and admit that for many patients, just telling them be more physically active simply doesn’t work. The idea in this study is to use step counts almost as a medication,” Dasgupta said in a news release.
The study involved 364 patients and 74 doctors from various hospitals in Montreal. All patients continued with their usual medical routine, but some of the patients were given step count prescriptions and a pedometer. After one year, the results showed that patients who were given a step count prescription had 1,200 steps more per day than those who were not. A very significant decrease in blood sugar levels were found among patients with type 2 diabetes.