Walks after meals may lower diabetes risk
If researchers at George Washington University in Washington D.C. are right, the smartest thing you can do after a meal is to skip the dessert and take a walk. They’ve published a study concluding that even a 15-minute stroll following a meal can help reduce the blood sugar spikes that occur after filling your stomach with food. For older people in particular, that can help lower the risk of developing diabetes.
The scientists found that three short bouts of exercise a day are more likely to help older people control blood glucose levels than one long bout of exercise-- especially if the exercise follows a meal. They believe that a short bout of walking at an easy or moderate pace may be all you need.
The study observed 10 people aged 60 and older who were at risk for type 2 diabetes due to insufficient physical activity and higher-than-normal fasting blood sugar. The participants in the study engaged in each of three exercise programs – walking 15 minutes after each meal, walking 45 minutes at 10:30 a.m. or walking 45 minutes at 4:30 p.m. Those who walked three times a day were more likely to prevent elevated blood sugar levels, which is a pre-diabetic condition that can develop into type 2 diabetes. The results also indicated that blood sugar levels were under control for up to three hours following a post-meal evening walk.
Since older people may be less able to control blood sugar levels after meals because of insulin resistance in the muscles or low insulin secretion from the pancreas, this approach to exercise may be particularly beneficial to people in their 70s and 80s.