Taking a short walk after meals, particularly when they contain a substantial amount of carbohydrates, can help people with Type 2 diabetes reduce their blood sugar levels, a study has found.
The findings showed that post-meal blood sugar levels dropped 12 per cent on average when the participants followed the “walking after meals” advice compared to walking at any time of the day.
“Most of this effect came from the highly significant 22 per cent reduction in blood sugar when walking after evening meals, which were the most carbohydrate heavy, and were followed by the most sedentary time,” said lead author Andrew Reynolds from University of Otago in New Zealand.
Post-meal glucose is regarded as an important target in managing Type 2 diabetes, given its independent contribution to overall blood sugar control and cardiovascular risk, added Jim Mann, professor at University of Otago.
“Postprandial physical activity may avoid the need for an increased total insulin dose or additional mealtime insulin injections that might otherwise have been prescribed to lower glucose levels after eating,” Mann said.
An increase in insulin dose might, in turn, be associated with weight gain in patients with type 2 diabetes, many of whom are already overweight or obese, he stated.
For the study, the researchers prescribed walking to 41 patients with Type 2 diabetes in two-week blocks, separated by a month.
The results are published in the journal Diabetologia.