Researchers long believed that after eating, taking a short, two-minute walk can help lower your blood sugar and reduce your chance of getting type 2 diabetes. According to a recent meta-analysis conducted by scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland, this is confirmed to be the case.
In a meta-analysis of seven studies, standing or light-intensity walking was compared against sitting for extended periods to see how it affected cardiometabolic health markers.
For a day, study participants were assigned to a walking or standing group and told to move for two to five minutes every 20 to 30 minutes. The participants in two of the seven investigations had or did not have diabetes.
Participants in the final five have never before had diabetes. According to researchers, a dip in blood sugar levels was discovered to be caused by even these brief periods of slow walking.
In particular, compared to sitting or standing, walking within 60 to 90 minutes after eating (when blood sugar levels are at their greatest) was linked to more gradual reductions in blood sugar levels. This is crucial for people with prediabetes or another kind of diabetes who want to prevent jarring blood sugar changes.
Researchers used systolic blood pressure, postprandial glucose, and insulin measurements to assess the state of the heart. Systolic blood pressure is the higher figure representing the force the heart pumps blood throughout the body (the hormone that regulates blood sugar).
According to the study, blood pressure and insulin had no discernible influence. The study also discovered that standing reduced blood sugar levels, though not to the same extent as walking.
It can be challenging to complete 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Movement can sometimes be neglected while juggling meetings, supper prep, kitchen cleanup, and presentation prep.
How To Adopt This Healthy Habit
Find ways to make walking enjoyable for you, such as putting on your best walking shoes, turning on your favorite podcast, walking your dog, or going for a quick stroll after meals with a buddy.
1. Make it enjoyable.
Use your favorite entertainment to enhance the experience:
While you walk, listen to an audiobook.
As you exercise on the treadmill, watch your preferred TV shows.
Play some upbeat music, then move your body to the beat.
2. Add meditation
Use your nightly walks as a chance to visualize your thoughts for the day.
To maximize sleep, meditation is a potent way to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, reduce cortisol, and reduce stress hormones.
To maximize sleep, which boosts fat loss and supports recovery, think of the chore as a standard component of your nighttime routine.
3. Book it in.
Set a time, place, and duration for your post-meal stroll. You may begin walking after breakfast as part of your morning commute, go for a block walk after lunch at work, or go for a family walk after supper.
4. Consistency is critical.
The main element in habit change is consistency. Starting a habit is typically the most challenging step, followed closely by restarting it after a few days off. Focus first on forming a daily routine of walking after one meal rather than getting too caught up in how long or quickly you move. It will be much simpler to build upon once this is established.
Other benefits of walking include:
Another study indicated that regular walking could help reduce fat and enhance your body’s reaction to insulin.
Additional research has shown that even 10 minutes of walking can boost your mood. Additionally, regular walking has been linked in studies to lower blood pressure, and another study revealed that walking enhanced cardiovascular health.
It improves mental health. It is possible to improve mental health through walking. It does so by reducing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
Endorphins, which have pain killing qualities, are released by walking. These reduce discomfort, lift the spirits, reduce tension, and encourage rest.
Sleep enhancement Any regular exercise can aid in reducing insomnia. Walking can be included in this workout.
According to research, daily exercise may be just as good for some people as sleeping pills. According to another source, regular long-term exercise dramatically reduces the time it takes adults to fall asleep.
However, those who don’t have insomnia can still benefit from taking a leisurely walk after supper. The quantity of slow-wave or deep sleep a person obtains at night is increased by engaging in a moderate level of aerobic activity.
If you’re considering including an after-dinner stroll in your usual routine, it’s a beautiful idea for reasons other than just lowering blood sugar. Exercise is generally beneficial for cardiovascular heart health and conditioning, as well as helping to maintain a healthy body weight, which is essential in and of itself for various reasons.
This is in addition to the blood sugar control and diabetes prevention benefits. Even bloating and gas can be reduced with exercise after meals, and nighttime walks can help sleep.
It’s best to carefully choose the intensity level of your post-meal movement and consider the size of your dinner because strenuous exercise performed too soon after meals can sometimes cause indigestion and abdominal pain.