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Two-minute walk after meal helps fight diabetes as helps muscles soak up fuel from food, experts say

Walking two minutes after a meal helps fight diabetes as it helps muscles absorb fuel from food, experts say

  • Set out for the walk 60 to 90 minutes after the food has been found to be optimal
  • This is when blood sugar spikes and muscles can absorb food fuel
  • People should aim for a 15 minute walk, but even ‘mini walks’ offer some benefit
  • Researchers from the University of Limerick in Ireland looked at seven studies

Taking a short walk after a meal can lower blood sugar and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, one review suggests.

Leaving 60 to 90 minutes after eating is optimal, as this is the time when blood sugar usually peaks and muscles can absorb fuel from the food, experts say.

People should aim for a 15-minute walk, but even “mini-walks” of two to five minutes offer some benefit, they add.

Researchers from the University of Limerick in Ireland looked at seven studies comparing the effects of sitting versus standing or walking on measures of heart health, including insulin and blood sugar levels. They found that walking lightly after a meal had a significant impact on moderating blood sugar levels.

Taking a short walk after a meal can lower blood sugar and lower risk of type 2 diabetes, one review suggests

Taking a short walk after a meal can lower blood sugar and lower risk of type 2 diabetes, one review suggests

In five of the studies, none of the participants had pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. The remaining two looked at a mix of people with and without such diseases.

The participants were asked to stand or walk for two to five minutes every 20 to 30 minutes during a day.

All seven studies showed that just a few minutes of light-intensity walking after a meal was enough to significantly improve blood sugar control compared to sitting.

When participants did this, their blood sugar rose and fell more gradually.

All seven studies showed that just a few minutes of light-intensity walking after a meal was enough to significantly improve blood sugar control compared to sitting.

All seven studies showed that just a few minutes of light-intensity walking after a meal was enough to significantly improve blood sugar control compared to sitting.

Avoiding sharp swings in blood sugar levels is critical for patients treating diabetes. Strong fluctuations are also thought to contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Even just standing up helped lower blood sugar, although not as much as walking lightly.

This is because walking lightly requires a more active effort from the muscles than standing and uses the sugar when a lot of it is circulating in the bloodstream.

Aidan Buffey, lead author of the review, which was published in the journal Sports Medicine, said a two to three minute mini-walk is more practical during the workday. People “don’t get up to run on a treadmill or run around the office,” he said, but they could get coffee or even take a walk down the hall.

dr. Euan Ashley, a cardiologist at Stanford University who was not involved in the study, said, “Even a little exercise is worth it and can lead to measurable changes.” For people who can’t find a few minutes to walk, “standing will get you started,” he noted.

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