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The anti-diabetes benefits of a 2-minute walk after a meal

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Short walks of 2 to 5 minutes are beneficial for reducing blood sugar (glycaemia) and insulin levels after meals, according to a study published in February 2022 in the journal Sports medicine.

Aidan J. Buffey, from the University of Limerick (Ireland), and his colleagues carried out a meta-analysis (combining of data) of seven studies, carried out with people who were overweight or obese, which compared the effects of:

  • get up periodically, for 2 to 5 minutes, to stand;

  • getting up to take light-intensity walks for 2 to 5 minutes,

  • remain seated continuously.

Interrupting sitting by simply standing reduced blood sugar levels after a meal significantly compared to prolonged sitting. But light-intensity walking lowered blood sugar more significantly and also lowered insulin levels after a meal.

After a walk, blood sugar levels rose and fell more gradually, underlines the New York Times which relays the study. “For people with diabetes, avoiding drastic blood sugar swings is an essential part of managing their disease.“says the newspaper. It is also considered that sudden spikes and drops in blood sugar could contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Light walking requires more active muscle engagement than standing, and it uses up fuel from food at a time when there is plenty of it circulating in the blood, the paper explains. The impact of the same meal is therefore less.

Although light walking at any time is good for your health, a short walk within 60 to 90 minutes after a meal can be particularly helpful in minimizing blood sugar spikes, as this is when blood sugar levels blood sugar tends to peak, reports the journal.

Getting up to do chores or finding other ways to move can be just as beneficial. (Light daily activities make a difference in reducing heart disease)

For more information on light physical activity to prevent or manage diabetes, see the links below.

(1) Matthew P. Herring, Christina K. Langley, Alan E. Donnelly & Brian P. Carson.

Psychomedia with sources: Sports Medicine, New York Times.
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