Step right up to the optimal step count; reengineering your body

Q: I want to lower my blood sugar levels so I don’t have prediabetes. Can I do that if I walk more? — Amy G., Solon, Ohio

A: Battling prediabetes should include physical activity, as well as a nutritional upgrade. But, yes, walking daily can help you reverse your prediabetes and extend your lifespan.

A new study in Diabetes Care looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on 1,194 US adults with prediabetes and 493 with diabetes to discover what daily step count provided the most protection from death from any cause over the course of around nine years.

They found that moving a little bit-3,500 steps a day for those with prediabetes, and 2,500 steps daily for folks with diabetes — did offer protection from death … slightly. After all, getting less than that step count means you probably don’t go out of the house some days, and when you do, you sit in a car and then sit at some other location. Earlier studies have found that if you’re sitting for six hours a day — even if you also exercise — you’re severely damaging your health and shortening your life.

But the headline in the step-count study is that getting around 10,000 steps a day is the real game changer. Folks with prediabetes and diabetes who walk that much are doing exactly what they need to do to see the greatest reduction in their risk of death from any cause.

So my recommendations are:

— Get a step counter/pedometer. There are free apps for smartphones and wearables that work well, too.

— Download a step equivalent chart from “MIT Getfit Convert activities to steps.” Explore ways to get “steps” in with alternative activities.

— Make a walking plan for your week. Some days you may go for 10,000 in four parts, some days in one. Then, get out there and/or in the gym or at home on a treadmill.

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Q: It’s time for a health makeover after my COVID-19 isolation. Can you help me get started? — Gregory Y., Pine Plains, New York

A: Anyone, anytime, can take steps to improve his or her health and future. I call it “Self-Engineering Your Body” and it’s an important part of my new book, “The Great Age Reboot” and the upcoming website GreatAgeReboot.com. It means that you are a genetic engineer for YOU. How? Healthy behaviors turn on the factories in genes that produce proteins that make your body function better and turn off genes that produce proteins that cause inflammation.

When you want to self-engineer your body, the smart steps are to upgrade how you treat your brain and mistakes and your immune system, to design a sustainable fitness plan, and protect yourself from accidents and. Let’s look at these steps — but, for more in-depth insights, check out my book.

Healthier brain and heart: The keys are to manage stress; get physical activity — including boots of intense aerobics; and eat a plant-centered diet that includes omega-3-rich, wild-caught salmon and ocean trout. Also, enjoy speed of processing games and avoid added sugar, saturated fats and simple carbs.

Stronger immune system: Feed your immune system with micronutrients found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Healthy proteins in legumes and salmon also promote immune system strength by building antibodies. Once again, exercise is essential; This time, to fight off infection.

Personalized fitness plan: You can design a daily workout routine that fits your schedule, interests and needs. Aim for a blend of aerobics five to seven days a week, with intervals of high-intensity activity; strength-building twice weekly for 20-30 minutes. Above all, have fun!

Protection from accidents and mistakes: This involves getting check-ups and preventive care, including an annual physical, colonoscopies as recommended, gynecological exams and mammograms. Have eyes, hearing and bone density tested every two years after age 50. Also, don’t ignore your doc’s advice; get second opinions; listen to your body; and dodge unverified medical advice.

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