A Walk After Dinner (And Other Meals, Too) May Be Just What You Need
Study findings on walking and blood sugar levels
Researchers in New Zealand asked 41 participants with type 2 diabetes to take part in a study wherein they had to walk 30 minutes total per day. Half the group was asked to walk the 30 minutes all in one shot, while the other half was asked to take three 10 minute walks starting five minutes after their three main meals. They did this for 14 days, then had a 30 day “washout” period, then the groups switched.
What the researchers found was pretty cool: Those who walked after their meals had an average 12% lower blood sugar than those who took the 30 minute walk all at once! The impact on blood sugar was most significant when taken after a higher carbohydrate meal (usually dinner); lowering blood sugar by about 22%.
Tips on how to incorporate walking into your schedule
Here are some easy ways to work this into your schedule:
- Make sure you eat breakfast when you’ll be able to walk shortly after. If you eat and then immediately head to your car for a 30 minute commute, try to change things up. Either eat 15 minutes earlier so you can talk a short walk around the block, or eat after you get to work and take a walk around the building or up and down the halls.
- Make walking after lunch part of your routine. When I had an office job, getting out for a walk during my lunch break was the only thing saving my sanity. Not only does the fresh air give you a break from the office, in this case it’s boosting your health! Eat your lunch outside and then walk for ten (or more!) minutes, or eat at your desk and then walk around right after.
- Make family walks something you do after dinner, no questions asked. Everyone benefits from getting up and getting moving, so why not get the whole family involved? Once the leftovers are packed away, get kids, adults, dogs, and anyone else up and out of the house for an evening stroll.
- Just try it for a few weeks. Having to move your schedule can feel annoying or overwhelming when you have a ton going on, but just give it a shot. Commit yourself to trying it for two weeks or 30 days, and just make it happen.
I love this idea because it’s really so simple and so straightforward. No special equipment is needed, and you probably already own shoes that are good enough for a ten minute walk. The walk doesn’t have to be fast, it just has to be done after a meal.
So, lace up your shoes, plan out your route, and get yourself on board with this great idea.
Has diabetes changed your exercise routine?