Post-meal stroll is particularly effective at lowering blood sugar

Jack Woodfield
Tue, 18 Oct 2016
Post-meal stroll is particularly effective at lowering blood sugar
A new study reveals that a 10-minute walk after a meal is better at helping people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels than a 30-minute walk during other parts of the day.

Researchers at New Zealand's University of Otago showed that taking a stroll after a meal reduces blood sugar levels more compared to taking a walk at any other time of the day.

As part of this study, the research team fitted accelerometers to 41 participants with type 2 diabetes in order to measure their physical activity. Participants also wore continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) that recorded blood sugar levels every five minutes, and were asked to walk either for half an hour a day or for 10 minutes after each main meal.

Researchers found blood sugar levels dropped around 12 per cent more, on average, when the short walks occurred after meals, compared to a half hour stroll at any other time of the day.

Dr Andrew Reynolds, who led the study, said: "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."

They concluded that physical exercise after meals was beneficial, and suggest that current guidelines "should be amended to specify post-meal activity, particularly when meals contain a substantial amount of carbohydrate".

In explaining why the 10-minute after meal walk was more effective than 30 minutes walking, the researchers noted that the instruction of short walks after meals may have been easier to stick to.

This isn't to infer that walks at other times of the day are not beneficial; merely, the instruction to take a 10-minute walk after meals was more successful in this study.

The study appears online of the journal Diabetologia.
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