Regular short walks could keep type 2 diabetes at bay

Wed, 03 Jul 2013
Taking a short walk every half an hour maybe more effective at reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes than one brisk 30-minute walk a day, new research has found.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was conducted by researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand.

For the first part of their research, 70 healthy adult volunteers were asked to sit for nine hours. They were given a meal-replacement drink after one hour, four hours and seven hours, and after each of these drinks they had their blood glucose and insulin levels measured to see how well their bodies were absorbing sugar from foods.

In the second part, the participants were asked to walk briskly for half an hour before sitting for nine hours. Finally, they sat for nine hours again but this time walked around for precisely one minute 40 seconds every half an hour.

The results showed both post-meal insulin and blood sugar levels were lower following the short walks than after the 30-minute stroll, or when the volunteers did not move at all from their seats.

Raised blood sugar and insulin readings are warning signs for the development of type 2 diabetes, which affects more than 3 million people in the UK.

The researchers said: "Regular activity breaks were more effective than continuous physical activity at decreasing blood sugar and insulin levels in healthy, normal-weight adults."

Commenting on the latest findings, Anthony Barnett, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said short bursts of regular exercise in people with sedentary occupations appears to be at least as good as longer, but less frequent, periods of exercise in improving sugar and fat levels."
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