Aims: Regular exercise is considered a cornerstone in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). It improves glucose control and cardiovascular risk factors, contributes to weight loss, and also improves general well-being, likely playing a role in the prevention of chronic complications of diabetes. However, compliance to exercise recommendations is generally inadequate in subjects with T2DM. Walking is the most ancestral form of physical activity in humans, easily applicable in daily life. It may represent, in many patients, a first simple step towards lifestyle changes. Nevertheless, while most diabetic patients do not engage in any weekly walking, exercise guidelines do not generally detail how to improve its use. The aims of this document are to conduct a systematic review of available literature on walking as a therapeutic tool for people with T2DM, and to provide practical, evidence-based clinical recommendations regarding its utilization in these subjects. Data synthesis: Analysis of available RCTs proved that regular walking training, especially when supervised, improves glucose control in subjects with T2DM, with favorable effects also on cardiorespiratory fitness, body weight, and blood pressure. Moreover, some recent studies have shown that even short bouts of walking, used for breaking prolonged sitting, can ameliorate glucose profiles in diabetic patients with sedentary behavior. Conclusions: There is sufficient evidence to recognize that walking is a useful therapeutic tool for people with T2DM. This document discusses theoretical and practical issues for improving its use.
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