A 10-minute walk after a meal may help people with type 2 diabetes
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A new study shows that for people with type 2 diabetes, a short walk after eating may help lower blood sugar levels more than exercising at other times of the day. A measurement of blood sugar called postprandial glycemia, which has been linked with heart disease risk, averaged 12 percent lower when study participants took a walk after eating, compared with those who exercised at other times. The study’s authors found that the largest drop in postprandial glycemia, 22 percent, was achieved by walking after dinner. “If you have type 2 diabetes, there is a guideline to be active for at least 150 minutes a week,” said study author Andrew Reynolds, a researcher at the University of Otago, in New Zealand.
But, he added, “the benefits we observed due to physical activity after meals suggest that current guidelines should be amended to specify after-meal activity, particularly when meals contain a substantial amount of carbohydrates,” he said.However, one U.S. diabetes specialist offered a caveat on that advice.
Exercise is indeed part of good management and care for those with type 2 diabetes, said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
But, he urged caution about the benefits of exercising right after meals.
Because heart disease is common among those with type 2 diabetes, “we need to be careful in encouraging exercise after a meal, as the demands on the heart increase with meals,” he explained. “This is especially important in people with heart disease, as diversion of blood from the coronary or carotid arteries to the gut is not always best for these patients.”