New research shows that taking a walk after a meal can help lower blood sugar levels, even for just a few minutes.
The news comes from a meta-analysis published earlier this year in the journal sporty drugin which researchers analyzed seven different studies to examine how light physical activity, such as standing and walking, affects heart health, including insulin and blood sugar levels, compared with prolonged sitting.
The findings suggest that taking a walk after a meal — even for just two to five minutes — can improve blood sugar levels compared to sitting or lying down after lunch or dinner. Simply standing can also help lower blood sugar levels, but not to the same extent as walking.
“Even light activity can have health benefits,” lead study author Aidan Buffey, a PhD student at the University of Limerick’s Institute of Health Research, told CNN. healthy.
When you eat a meal — especially one that’s high in carbohydrates — it’s normal for your blood sugar level, or the amount of glucose in your blood, to sometimes rise temporarily. This is called the postprandial spike.
This spike in blood sugar usually triggers the release of a hormone called insulin, which allows glucose to leave your bloodstream and enter your cells, where it is used for energy.
But the balance between blood sugar levels and insulin is a delicate one — and it can quickly spiral out of control. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if the body’s blood sugar spikes continue to be high — and therefore, often pumping out more insulin — cells eventually stop responding to insulin and develop insulin resistance. Disruption of this balance can lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
That’s where this new study comes into play — a brisk walk after a meal can help lower blood sugar levels and potentially reduce the chance of developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes, the study authors say.
The University of Limerick team analysed seven different studies to examine the effect of sedentary rest (or interruptions in prolonged sitting) on measures of cardiometabolic health such as postprandial blood sugar and insulin levels.
Only two of the studies included people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes; the other five studies did not include any participants with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. In all studies, participants were asked to stand or walk for 2 to 5 minutes every 20 to 30 minutes throughout the day.
The researchers found that both standing and walking lowered postprandial blood sugar levels compared to sitting. However, according to the study authors, “light walking was found to be a better intervention.” Light walking was also found to improve insulin levels after meals.
Ultimately, the researchers recommend light walking after meals to lower blood sugar and insulin levels.
According to the study authors, the skeletal muscle contractions that occur while walking lead to increased glucose uptake—meaning your working muscles use up excess glucose in your blood, reducing the need for insulin secretion.
“If you can do physical activity before the glucose spike, it’s usually 60 to 90 minutes [after eating]that’s when you’ll benefit from no glucose spikes,” Buffey told era.
Buffey tells us that a walk after a meal is the best option for blood sugar control healthy It’s a good idea to take short walking breaks throughout the day.
“Try to interrupt your sitting position as much as possible,” says Buffy. “On weekdays and at night, it would be ideal if you could stand and walk every 20 to 30 minutes, if not every 45 to 60 minutes or whatever, because any movement is beneficial.”
Controlling blood sugar levels can help reduce the risk of diabetes. And if you already have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar is crucial because it can help reduce the chances of various health complications associated with diabetes, such as vision loss, heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.
“Managing your blood sugar will help delay or prevent future complications of diabetes and help you feel more confident about your health,” said Laura Hieronymus, American Diabetes Association vice president of health care programs, American Diabetes Association associate professor, and registered nurse DNP Kentucky University School of Nursing told healthy.
Maintaining blood sugar levels throughout the day can also help boost energy levels, she adds.
According to the CDC, in order to control blood sugar throughout the day, it is essential to eat a healthy diet, eat more fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight, and participate in regular physical activity. Other tips include:
- Track blood sugar levels to see when they rise and fall
- Eat regular meals throughout the day, do not skip meals
- Choose water over juice, soda, or alcohol
Tracking your blood sugar is especially important for your health if you already have diabetes. “If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels can rise or fall due to a number of factors,” says Hieronymous. “The amount of change in your levels can vary from day to day. That’s why it’s important to keep track of these numbers so you stay within a healthy range. The longer you stay out of range, the more damage you can cause. parts such as the heart, kidneys and eyes.”
You can track your blood sugar levels using two different methods: a blood glucose meter or a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). A blood glucose meter works by checking your blood sugar with a small drop of blood obtained by pricking your finger. Also, a CGM is a device that stays connected to your body and provides real-time glucose readings and tracks glucose patterns over time.
“Both options are great ways to help you track your blood sugar throughout the day,” says Hieronymous. “[to help you] Make sure you stay within a healthy range so you can avoid or delay any diabetes complications. ”