A Short After-Dinner Walk is Good for Diabetes

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Monday, 24 October 2016

According to a story in the Daily Telegraph, taking a short walk of around 10 minutes after meals is better for your blood sugar than taking a walk at any other time.

The story was written regarding a study that looked at whether taking a 10 minute walk following a meal would result in lower levels of blood glucose than a single daily 30 minute walk in people who have type 2 diabetes.

Involving 41 adults, the study revealed that shorter walks taken more frequently straight after a main meal lowered blood glucose by about 12 percent, in comparison to just one half-hour walk a day.

This was seen most prominently after evening meals, when consumption of carbohydrates was high and the participants were generally less active.

The aim of the randomised crossover study was to look at whether or not the timing of a walk could be beneficial to people with diabetes by lowering their sugar levels.

The researchers didn’t explain why post-meal walks were more effective at reducing blood glucose, but they believe that walking after a meal could decrease the need for insulin injections and help people with weight management. They feel that the current guidelines for physical activity should be altered to include exercise after meals, particularly after meals containing a lot of carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, pasta and bread. At the moment, the guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week, e.g. fast walking or cycling.

According to Diabetes UK, 4 million people in the UK have diabetes, 90 percent of whom have type 2. This type of diabetes occurs when the body’s cells don’t react to insulin, or if the body doesn’t produce enough insulin in the first place. It’s important for people with diabetes to exercise regularly because physical activity lowers blood glucose levels.

As the duration of the study was relatively short, the researchers can’t be certain that the effects they witnessed would last, or if the findings would lead to an overall improvement in diabetes control and blood glucose levels. But if confirmed by additional research, the results could suggest that making this simple lifestyle change is beneficial to those with diabetes.