New research from New Zealand’s University of Otago suggests that people managing type 2 diabetes should walk after meals to gain the greatest blood sugar-lowering benefits.
Current advice in New Zealand is for people with type 2 diabetes to walk at least 30 minutes a day. No particular time of the day is advised. The Otago research indicates that walking after meals is better at reducing blood sugar levels than taking a single 30-minute walk at any time of the day.
The researchers prescribed walking to 41 patients with type 2 diabetes. The patients were to walk either for 30 minutes a day as advised by guidelines or for ten minutes after each main meal.
The study’s first author, Andrew Reynolds, PhD, said the research team found that post-meal blood sugar levels dropped 12 percent 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 percent reduction in blood sugar when walking after evening meals, which were the most carbohydrate heavy and were followed by the most sedentary time,” Reynolds said.
Additionally, the study authors found that post-meal physical activity may avoid the need for an increased total insulin dose, which may otherwise be prescribed to lower glucose levels after eating, and that the benefits warranted amending the walking guidelines to specify post-meal activity.
This article was adapted from information provided by the University of Otago.