By Joyce Williams
National Kidney Foundation of Michigan 

Women find regular walking helps to lose weight, build confidence ― even complete 5Ks!


In 2019, a group of eight women, ages 56 to 77 years old, from southeast Michigan met through the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The group, including their lifestyle coach, bonded with each other and remain friends to this day. During the physical activity portion of DPP, the new friends decided to meet early before each weekly class and walk around the parking lot. Each starting from a different fitness level,the group enjoyed walking. They reached their DPP goals slowly but safely, losing weight and supporting each other. During the summer, theprogram's lifestyle coach invited them to train for a 5K Walk in the fall. Inkster resident Cynthia Hicks, who recorded the women's story, wrote the following:

"The majority of us had never participated in any type of organized walk. It was exciting but scary. Some had walked no further than around the parking lot, so the 5K seemed daunting. Our lifestyle coach urged us to start where we were. Once we ... dismissed the "I will never be able to ..." thinking, training began in Garden City Park (GCP). The 5K was a little more than 90 days away and we met biweekly from that point on - one day for the DPP meeting, one day at GCP for 5K training.

The big day finally arrived.We all could don our t-shirts and show our community, each other, and ourselves what we were made of. This was the most precious moment, when you realized that each one started as an individual at a different spot in the race. But with patience and perseverance, we crossed the finish line together as a team."

After their first successful 5K, the ladies completed another one in 2020 (avirtual walkdue to the pandemic) and will walk together in this fall's 5K.

Even though studies find that walking contributes to overall fitness, fewer than 24% of U.S. adults get enough physical activity.1A 2016 study found thatyou may be able to keep diabetes at bay by walking the equivalent of 30 to 60 minutes at a moderate pace most days of the week.2A third study finds that walking in nature, if possible, improves positive feelings and mental well-being.3

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that only half of adults get the physical activity they need to help reduce and prevent chronic diseases. Compared to the 65% of white adults who walk for exercise, only 60% of Latinos and only 58% of African Americans walk to improve or maintain fitness.4

Here are just some of the amazing benefits of walking:

• Prevent type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases

• Help control blood sugar levels

• Prevent weight gain, maintain weight

• Control blood pressure

• Lessen risk of high blood pressure and stroke

• Improve sleep

• Improve memory

• Reduce stress

Start moving moreby walking, a fitness activity that does not require any special skills, a gym membership or expensive equipment. Being physically active can also be fun. When it's possible, go outside with a friend, connect, and enjoy the weather.We all know how and it's never too late to start walking!

Interested in the Diabetes Prevention Program? DPP information sessions are being offered by the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) throughout, email [email protected] or call 1-800-482-1455.


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