A Brisk Open Air Walk


Exercise for Hypertension and Diabetes



In this article, I am going to discuss Exercise for Hypertension and Diabetes.  In Part 1 of the series, I will be covering walking as an exercise.

Nowadays, due to our hectic life, we get very little time to think about our health, leave aside exercising.

Because of this, we tend to accumulate unwanted weight around our belly which in the future can lead to hypertension and diabetes. 

But, if you have recently found out that you have either High BP[Hypertention] or High Blood Sugar levels[Diabetes], then this article is for you.

In my last post I had promised that I will talk on exercise and diet for controlling hypertension and diabetes. In this article, I will be discussing an exercise part rather than the diet. Starting today, I will be writing on what exercises are to be performed for maintaining blood pressure as well as blood sugar.

What are these exercises?

Exercise can be anything from simple brisk walking to weight training for maintaining or building muscle mass. We will cover them one by one. Read on-


One of the best exercises I recommend to my patients is WALKING. You all must have heard the proverb”an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.Similarly, I have coined the phrase-“A GOOD WALK A DAY KEEPS THE CHOLESTEROL AND SUGAR AT BAY”

So what does a ‘good walk’ exactly mean? Walking can be casual as in a leisurely stroll or it can with a purpose, say for reducing the weight, improving your gait, etc–this is your ‘good walk’. Can we measure how much we walk as well as how much we can lose weight at the same time? Yes, you can. A purposeful walk is usually a brisk one, like say, as if you are in a hurry to reach somewhere.

How much should we Walk?

Before we embark on walking we would like to know our ideal body weight [click here]. You can also use the gadget shown below to know your ideal body weight. Just filling the values asked for and you will see how much you should weigh ideally.

We can measure how much we have walked by counting the steps we take. Research shows that the average distance covered by a man per step is approximately 2.5 feet and that by a woman is 2.1 feet.

So, if one takes 10 steps you will be covering 25 feet or 21 feet depending on your gender. Research shows that to 1 km you need to walk a minimum of 1250 steps.

How many calories or weight[in kg] you lose by Walking?

Research also shows that we burn 0.04 calories per step. So, how many calories should one burn to shed off 1 kg of weight? 1 kg of weight is equivalent to 7000 calories. Based on these findings, to lose 1 kg per month, we have to walk at least 175000 steps per month that comes to approx. 5835 steps or 4.666 km per day. That way you will be losing about 235 calories per day and if you want to lose more weight, you will just have to walk more! All this calculation is based on the assumption that you weigh around 72 to 75 kg.

How do I know how many steps I have covered?

This is quite a difficult thing to do. However, nowadays we have inbuilt apps in our smartphones that will show you how many steps or kilometers you have covered. Have a look at the screenshot that I have put up below-

Steps covered while walking shown by step counter app on my smartphone as a part in exercise for hypertension and diabetes
Steps covered while walking shown by step counter app on my smartphone.

You can see that I have covered 8201 steps or 5.5 km on a particular day. This may not be all at one go. Let’s say you have walked for one hour in the morning.

Depending upon your speed, the total number of steps will be recorded on your smartphone or if you have a gadget like the fitness band or watch as shown below-

Fitness, steps and distance calculating watch which can be uded in exercise for hypertension and diabetes control
Steps and fitness watch

Now you can calculate the calories you have burnt by multiplying 0.4 by the number of steps you have covered.  7000 calories are equivalent to 1 kg. Now divide this value by 7000. It will give you the exact weight loss in kg.

Let’s take the above example of the steps I have covered-

1.8201×0.04= 328.04 cals. 

2. 328.04÷7000=0.046kg or 46 gms. 

Now, if we multiply 46 by 30 days our weight loss is 1380 gm or 1.3kg. This loss is by walking only. If you were to add some weight training exercise or aerobics to your daily walk, then the weight loss will be substantially higher.

How does weight loss help in Hypertension and Diabetes?

Most hypertensive and diabetic patients are either overweight or obese. Research shows that for every  10 kg weight loss there is approximately 5 to 20 points[ measured as mm of Hg] drop in the Systolic BP. A reduction in blood pressure results in reduction of medication.

In the case of diabetes, overweight or obese people have more fatty tissue[adiposity] and less muscle mass. This leads to a condition called Insulin Resistance[click here to know more]. Insulin resistance leads to less absorption of sugar by the muscles which causes loss of muscle mass.

Exercise like brisk walking tends to reduce excess fatty tissue and thereby reverse the resistance to insulin. This increases muscle mass leading to better uptake of sugar by muscles and thereby lowering hyperglycemia. This also improves your BMI[click here to know more]. 

I hope you have all understood the way walking helps in maintaining or losing weight as well as hypertension and diabetes.  In my next post, I will talk on other types of exercises to help control hypertension and diabetes.

Till then, Happy Walking! If you have any doubts, you can put it up in the ‘Leave a Comment’ section of this post.

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