Study: 10-Min Walk after Meals Can Help Keep Diabetes in Check

Couple people strollimg

A group of British researchers found that having a short post-meal stroll can better improve the outcomes of type 2 diabetes than longer walks at other times. The study revealed a 10-min walk after meals can better lower blood sugar levels than one daily walk of 30 minutes.

The recent findings are in line with past studies which revealed that having a stroll after a meal can improve blood glucose levels.

Researchers also found that the benefits were more visible after the evening meal. Scientists explained that at that time of the day, people tend to consume more carbohydrates and be less active than at other moments of the day.

However, the small study didn’t reveal why short walks after a meal are so effective at improving diabetes. But study authors believe strolling after each meal could enable patients skip insulin injections and keep their weight under control.

They also believe public health authorities should alter current guidelines and add post-meal activity to healthy lifestyle recommendations for people with diabetes. The team think post-meal walks are critical especially after carbohydrate-rich meals. Carbohydrates include pasta, rice, bread, and potatoes.

As of 2014, 29.1 million Americans had diabetes. This accounts for 9.3 percent of the population. Of those patients, just 21.0 million people had an official diagnosis.

Type 2 diabetes occurs in two situations:

  • The body capacity to produce insulin is diminished
  • The body’s cells no longer react to the important hormone.

On the other hand, researchers acknowledged their study has some limitations. For instance, it is very small as it involved only 41 patients. Also, the team doesn’t know whether the effect would last.

If follow-up research confirms the study, patients could resort to post-meal activity to keep the disease in check by improving blood sugar levels in the long term.

The Study

The cross-over study sought to find whether 10 minutes of moderate post-meal activity, after every main meal, would benefit diabetes patients more than a single 30-minute-long session.

The trial involved adults from New Zealand with the average age of 60. All study participants had type 2 diabetes. The study did not include pregnant women or people who couldn’t or wouldn’t comply with the post-meal requirement.

There were two regimens of activity. Participants had to follow the first regimen for 2 weeks, with a 30-day break. Next, they followed the other regimen two weeks with a 30-day break.

During the first two weeks they agreed to walk 30 minutes every day. In the seventh week, they agreed to walk 10 minutes after every main meal. The research team collected data on each participant including sitting time and activity level through fitness trackers.

The study revealed blood sugar levels were 12 percent lower in volunteers who walked after each meal than in those who went for a 30-minute stroll every day. But when it comes to the evening meal, blood sugar levels were 22 percent lower.

The team published their findings this week in the British medical journal Diabetologia.

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