Home Blood Sugar Management Walking after meals can help lower blood sugar levels

Walking after meals can help lower blood sugar levels

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How much time do you spend sitting each day?

Getting up and moving may be the key to lowering your blood sugar levels, and even taking a short walk right after a meal can help lower your blood sugar levels.

A new analysis recently published in the journal Sports Medicine presents the results of seven studies comparing the effects of sitting versus standing on measures such as blood sugar, insulin and heart health. . The results showed that even a light walk of 2 to 5 minutes after a meal has a significant effect on lowering blood sugar levels. Conversely, the results also show that sitting for long periods of time can have negative effects on cardiovascular and metabolic health.

This study investigated how sitting, which combines short periods of standing and light walking frequently throughout the day, affects health compared to sitting for long periods of time. Data from seven different studies all showed that overweight adults over the age of 18 lowered their blood sugar levels by standing briefly between sitting sessions. There were no significant effects on insulin or blood pressure. Light-intensity walking breaks have been shown to significantly lower glucose and insulin levels compared to prolonged sitting.

Blood sugar levels are a notable marker for diabetes risk. Five of the studies analyzed involved people without prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. His two remaining studies also included people with either or both. The participant was asked to stand or walk for 2-5 minutes every 20-30 minutes throughout the day.

Why does my blood sugar level drop when I walk or stand?

“Physical activity plays an important role in regulating glucose metabolism in the body,” explains Kelsey Hitter, dietitian and diabetes care and education specialist at Allegheny Health Network (AHN). “During physical activity, muscles require more energy to contract and perform work. When we perform physical activity, muscles use glucose as their main energy source.”

Insulin, an essential hormone produced by the pancreas, allows glucose to move from the blood into cells, reducing the amount of glucose in the blood. This lowers blood sugar levels and increases insulin sensitivity.

Research shows that while light walking at any time is good for your health, walking within 60 to 90 minutes after a meal provides the best results.

“Every time you move your body, your skeletal muscles contract, and muscle contraction improves insulin sensitivity,” says Hitter. “If you spend too much time sitting, you lose the opportunity to contract your muscles and improve insulin sensitivity.”

Hütter recommends to patients the American Diabetes Association’s movement guidelines, which advise patients to take breaks from prolonged sitting every 30 minutes and do walking or simple resistance exercise. . These guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise per week, spread over three days per week. Aerobic exercise should be done for at least 10 minutes three times a day, for a total of 30 minutes most days.

“Increasing your movement and activity throughout the day takes planning and effort,” says Hütter. “It’s important to assess your work and home environment and use technology to remind you to add more activity into your day.”

Tips to get started:

At work: Request a standing desk and get into the habit of standing while taking calls. If you work from home, consider purchasing a treadmill desk.

At home: Reduce screen time and exercise while watching your favorite TV show.

Technology: Phone apps and wearable devices can help remind you to be more active, stand more often, and take short walks.

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