Walking after eating reduces risk of diabetes

18th Oct 16 | Fitness & Wellbeing

Short walks after meals may prove important tool in managing diabetes, researchers claim.

Walking after eating reduces risk of diabetes

Taking a ten-minute stroll after each meal may help people with type two diabetes control their condition, a new study claims.

Researchers at New Zealand's University of Otago prescribed walking to 41 patients with type 2 diabetes in two-week blocks, separated by a month. The patients - who were fitted with accelerometres to measure their physical activity and devices that measured their blood sugar every five minutes - were to walk either for 30 minutes a day as advised by guidelines, or to walk for 10 minutes after each main meal.

In the study findings, researchers claim post-meal blood sugar levels dropped by 12 per cent on average when the participants followed the walking after meals advice compared to walking at any time of the day.

"Most of this effect came from the highly significant 22 per cent reduction in blood sugar when walking after evening meals, which were the most carbohydrate heavy, and were followed by the most sedentary time," study author Dr Andrew Reynolds said in a statement.

He adds that post-meal glucose is regarded as an important target in managing type 2 diabetes, given its independent contribution to overall blood sugar control and cardiovascular risk.

Current advice for people with type 2 diabetes to walk at least 30 minutes a day, though no particular time of the day is advised.

In a report, Professor Jim Mann adds that timed physical activity may avoid the need for an increased total insulin dose or additional mealtime insulin injections that might otherwise have been prescribed to lower glucose levels after eating.

"An increase in insulin dose might, in turn, be associated with weight gain in patients with type 2 diabetes, many of whom are already overweight or obese," he said.

Their findings are published in the journal Diabetologia. A second U.K.-based study in the same edition of the journal shows that increasing your amount of activity also confers greater benefit in blood sugar control.

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