New research shows that walking after a meal can help lower blood sugar levels, even if only for a few minutes.
The news comes from a meta-analysis published in the journal earlier this year the sport medicineIn it, researchers analyzed seven different studies to examine the effects of light physical activity, such as standing and walking, on heart health, including insulin and blood sugar levels, compared to prolonged sitting.
Research shows that taking a light walk (even just two to five minutes) after eating can improve blood sugar levels compared to sitting or lying down after lunch or dinner. Just standing can also help lower blood sugar levels, but not to the same extent as walking.
“Even light activity can be done to improve health,” said Dr Aidan Buffy, MSc, PhD student at the University of Limerick’s Institute of Health Research. Health.
It is normal for your blood sugar levels or blood glucose levels to occasionally rise temporarily when you eat a meal, especially a high carbohydrate meal. This is called the postprandial spike.
This rise in blood sugar usually triggers the release of a hormone called insulin, which allows glucose to leave your blood and enter your cells where it is used for energy.
But the balance between blood sugar and insulin is delicate and can quickly get out of control. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if the body’s blood sugar levels are consistently high, meaning it constantly produces a lot of insulin, cells can eventually become insulin resistant. This imbalance can lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
That’s where this new study comes in—study authors say that a brisk walk after a meal can help lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
A team of researchers from the University of Limerick analyzed seven different studies to examine the effects of sedentary breaks, or interruptions in prolonged sitting, on markers of cardiometabolic health, such as postprandial blood sugar and insulin levels.
Only two of those studies included people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes; The other five studies did not include any participants with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. All studies asked participants to stand or walk for two to five minutes every 20 to 30 minutes throughout the day.
The researchers found that both standing and walking reduced postprandial glucose levels compared to sitting. However, according to the study authors, “light intensity walking was found to be the best intervention.” Light walking has also been found to improve postprandial insulin levels.
Finally, the researchers suggested light-intensity walking after a meal to lower blood sugar and insulin levels.
According to the study authors, the skeletal muscle contractions that occur during walking lead to increased glucose uptake—which means that your working muscles can use the excess glucose in your blood, reducing the need for insulin secretion.
“If you can do physical activity before your glucose peak, it’s usually 60 to 90 minutes [after eating]and you’re going to have a spike in glucose,” Buffy said Times.
Buffy said walking after a meal is optimal for managing blood sugar Health It’s a good idea to take short walking breaks throughout the day.
“Try to space out your sitting time as often as possible,” Buffy said. “During the work day and evening, if you can get up and walk every 20-30 minutes, it would be ideal, if not every 45-60 minutes, or as much as possible, some movement would be beneficial.”
Controlling blood sugar levels can help reduce the risk of diabetes. And, if you’re living with diabetes, controlling your blood sugar is important because it can help reduce the risk of a variety of diabetes-related health complications, including vision loss, heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.
“Blood glucose management can help delay or prevent future complications of diabetes and help you feel more confident about your health,” Laura Hieronymus DNP, RN, vice president of health programs and adjunct professor at the American Diabetes Association. This was announced by the University of Kentucky College of Nursing Health.
She added that keeping blood sugar levels in check throughout the day also helps boost energy levels.
According to the CDC, to keep your blood sugar under control throughout the day, you need to eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight, and get regular exercise. Other tips include:
- Track your blood sugar levels, when they go up and when they go down
- Eat regularly throughout the day and do not skip meals
- Choose water instead of juice, soda or alcohol
If you have diabetes, controlling your blood glucose is especially important for your health. “If you have diabetes, your blood glucose levels can go up or down based on a lot of factors,” Hieronomus said. “The amount your levels fluctuate can vary from day to day. That’s why it’s important to track those numbers so you can stay in a healthy range. The longer you go out, the more damage you can do to other areas of your body, such as your heart, kidneys, and eyes. cause”.
You can use two different methods to monitor your blood sugar: a blood glucose meter or a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). A blood glucose meter works by checking your glucose through a small drop of blood that you can prick your finger. And, a CGM is a device that attaches to your body and provides real-time glucose readings and monitors glucose patterns over time.
“Both options help control blood glucose throughout the day,” Hieronomos said.[to help you] Make sure you stay in a healthy range to avoid or delay any complications with diabetes.”