A recent study indicates that taking a short walk after each meal could help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Why? According to the fundamentals of the research, the walks would help smooth postprandial glucose levels.
According to the American Diabetes Association and the World Health Organization (WHO), the general recommendation for adults is to get 150 minutes of exercise per week. Although it is true that this advice varies according to the type of activity that each person performs -running is not the same as doing strength training, for example-, it is a concept that aims to be a general parameter.
However, research has shown that less exercise, while not ideal, would also have some health benefits.
What the new study says about diabetes and exercise
Diseases such as type 2 diabetes can result from frequent or extreme glucose “excursions,” when the amount of blood sugar, or glucose, in the blood falls below or rises above healthy levels.
The study indicates that a short walk after each meal could help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
A study by Trusted Source, published in 2009, found that taking a 20-minute walk after eating, or “postprandial,” can help lower the glycemic impact of a meal. This means that the person would have less extreme spikes in glucose levels.
To lower glucose it is advisable to walk between 2 and 5 minutes
But recently new work emerged, published in Sports Medicine, indicating that even 2 to 5 minutes of walking after a meal can help smooth postprandial glucose levels.
The researchers analyzed the results of seven studies that looked at the metabolic effects of sitting, standing, and brisk walking to determine whether brisk walking and standing were more beneficial than just sitting. Thus, they measured its effects on blood sugar, insulin and systolic blood pressure.
The analysis found that even standing was better for lowering blood sugar than sitting after a meal, although clearly not as positive as walking briskly.
It is worth mentioning that while both light walking and standing moderated postprandial glucose levels, walking alone reduced insulin levels considerably. In turn, standing showed a benefit in relation to insulin that was statistically insignificant. In relation to systolic pressure, it had no impact of any kind.
The study has shown that walking after each meal would have health benefits
Why it is advisable to do 150 minutes of exercise a week
The American Diabetes Association and the WHO, as mentioned, recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week for optimal cardiometabolic health and quality of life. Now, why this number so precise?
From the entity they explain that any physical activity is better than nothing, but that there is a convention between health entities that say that a minimum of 150 minutes of activity per week is needed to obtain significant results. However, it is key to keep in mind that a slow walk is not enough nor does it count as exercise, but it must have at least a moderate intensity.
Regular physical activity has many benefits for people with diabetes, including improved blood pressure and blood sugar control. Additionally, research has shown that doing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week can lower your chances of heart disease and early death, compared to being sedentary.
How to get to that weekly exercise goal
There are those who enjoy playing sports and who find it an enjoyable activity. However, there are also those who do not, and it is the latter who usually have problems when it comes to finding time and motivation to exercise. That is why from the American entity they provide a series of tips that, although they may seem obvious, can contribute to finding those desires that are not so easy to find.