Metabolic Syndrome and Walking

The metabolic syndrome is defined by the American Heart Association as a condition characterized by three or more of the following;Pedometer

  1. high waist circumference (more than 102 cm/40.15 inches for men, or more than 88 cm/34.64 inches for women)
  2. high triglycerides (more than 150 mg/dl, or on medication for triglycerides) 
  3. low HDL cholesterol (more than 40 mg/dl for men, or more than 50 mg/dl for women) 
  4. high blood pressure (more than 130 mmHg systolic, or more than 85 mmHg diastolic) 
  5. high blood sugar (more than 100 mg/dl, or on medication for sugars)

Many people who have metabolic syndrome are also diabetic, and all have an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke.

In a recent study of 1446 adults, the frequency of metabolic syndrome was determined and compared with the number of steps each person took per day. Each person’s steps were measured by the ActiGraph accelerometer, which collects step counts, as well as by other physical measurements. (Very inexpensive pedometers are available that count steps taken each day.)

The sedentary group took less 5000 steps per day. The somewhat active group took between 5000 and 9999 steps a day. The active group took more than 10,000 steps daily. Metabolic syndrome was present in 56% of the sedentary group, but only 13% of those in the group with the most daily steps.

The somewhat active group had 40% less metabolic syndrome compared to those taking less than 5000 steps/day. The active group had 72% less metabolic syndrome.

Based on this study, researchers have developed a formula showing that the risk of having metabolic syndrome is 10% lower for each 1000 steps you take per day.