Just a 2 minute walk after a meal is a good surprise for you

According to conventional wisdom, walking after a meal clears the mind and aids digestion. Scientists also found that 15 min walk After a meal can lower blood sugar, which can help prevent complications like Type 2 diabetes. But as it turns out, even just a few minutes of walking can trigger these benefits.

In one meta-analysisrecently published in the journal In sports medicine, researchers looked at the results of seven studies that compared the effects of sitting versus standing or walking on measures of heart health, including insulin and sugar levels. in blood. They found that a light walk after a meal, as little as two to five minutes, had a significant impact on blood sugar regulation.

“Every little thing you do has a benefit, even if it’s a small step,” said Dr. Kershaw Patel, a preventive cardiologist at Houston Methodist Hospital who was not involved in the study.

In the five studies that the article reviewed, none of the participants had prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. The other two studies looked at people with and without such conditions. Participants were asked to stand or walk for two to five minutes every 20 to 30 minutes throughout the day.

All seven studies showed that just a few minutes of light-intensity walking after a meal was enough to significantly improve blood sugar levels compared to sitting at a desk or sitting down on the couch. When the participants walked a short distance, their blood sugar gradually increased and decreased.

For people with diabetes, avoiding sharp fluctuations in blood sugar is an important part of managing their disease. It is also thought that blood sugar spikes and spikes can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Standing also helps lower blood sugar, although not to the same extent as light walking. Aidan Buffey, a PhD student at the University of Limerick in Ireland and author of the paper, said: “Standing offers only a small benefit. Compared to sitting or standing, “walking at a light intensity is a better intervention,” he says.

That’s because gentle walking requires more active muscle engagement than standing and using fuel from food at a time when there’s a lot of fluid circulating in the blood. “Your muscles will absorb some of that excess glucose,” says Jessie Inchauspé, author of “The Glucose Revolution: The Life-Changing Power of Balancing Your Blood Sugar. “

“You still have the same meal, but the impact on your body will be less,” she adds.

While a light walk at any time is good for your health, a short walk for 60 to 90 minutes after eating a meal can be especially helpful in minimizing spikes in blood sugar. blood sugar, as that’s when blood sugar tends to peak.

Inchauspé also recommends getting up to do housework or find other ways to be physically active. This short duration of activity will also enhance other dietary changes people can make to help control their blood sugar.

“Moving even a little is worth it and can lead to measurable changes, as these studies have shown, in your signs of health,” says Dr. cardiologist at Stanford University, who was not involved in the study, said.

Mr. Buffey, whose research has focused on physical activity interventions in the workplace, notes that a small two- to three-minute walk is more practical during the workday. “People aren’t going to get up and run on the treadmill or run around the office, but they can have some coffee or even go for a walk in the hallway,” he said.

For those working from home, he suggests taking a short walk around the block between Zoom meetings or after lunch. Mr. Buffey says the more we normalize to small walks during the workday, the more feasible they are. “If you’re in a rigid environment, that’s where the hard times can hit.”

If you can’t spare those few minutes to walk, Dr. Ashley says, “standing will get you some distance.”

The benefits of physical activity are never all-or-nothing, but instead are persistent, says Dr. Patel. “It’s the gradual effect of more activity, better health,” he said. “Every incremental step, every incremental standing or brisk walk seems to be beneficial.”

Rachel Fairbank is a freelance science writer living in Texas.

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