Managing diabetes to keep it under control boils down to one thing: increasing your metabolism to keep blood sugar low.
Staying on the couch and wishing your diabetes away is not the best solution. Regular physical activity is the best way to keep your metabolism high. In fact, it has the potential to reduce blood sugar levels by 12% if done after dinner.
Researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand, carried out a study where they measured blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes before and after taking a walk.
The randomized study showed that post-meal blood glucose dropped 12% on average when type 2 diabetes patients walked for 10 minutes after each meal. This was compared with taking a 30 minute walk at any time of day.
The effect was most noticeable after the evening dinner, when the most carbohydrates are consumed and sedentary behavior is most prevalent.
The CDC recommends walking 2.5 hours every week for important health benefits, but it takes a lot of time. Alternatively, they recommend breaking it down into periods of 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise.
However, the findings from the Kiwi scientists could make a strong case to update these guidelines. Additionally, physical activity after dinner could make it possible for patients to reduce the insulin dosage to decrease blood glucose levels after eating.
Many of the type 2 diabetes patients are already overweight or obese. Physical activity after eating may also help—apart from reducing blood sugar—in loosing weight, since it is frequent that people don’t tend to move after a meal.
Taking a short 10 minute walk after a meal is easy. That’s just a walk around the block! So, next time you have a dinner, especially a big one, put on some comfortable shoes and go for a quick walk. Have a dog? Take it with you! This will undoubtedly improve your health and your diabetes.
Reynolds, A.N., Mann, J.I., Williams, S. et al. Diabetologia (2016). doi:10.1007/s00125-016-4085-2
CDC. How much activity do adults need?