After-Dinner Walks May Lower Diabetes Risk

According to a new study published in 'Diabetes Care', just 15 minutes of walking after each meal appears to be helpful in reducing blood sugar levels. The study was conducted by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) and involved ten people age 60 and older who were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to above average levels of fasting blood sugar and lack of exercise. Participants completed three randomly-ordered exercise protocols spaced four weeks apart.

"Lead author Loretta DiPietro, chair of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services department of exercise science, pointed out that after a big meal, most people take a nap or watch television -- which doesn't help blood sugar levels. "That's the worst thing you can do," DiPietro said in a press release. "Let the food digest a bit and then get out and move," she says. A walk timed to follow the big evening meal is particularly important because this research suggests high post-dinner blood sugar is a strong determinant of excessive 24-hour glucose levels, DiPietro said."

The research team's findings suggest that the most effective time to go for a post-meal walk was after the evening meal, which is often the largest of the day and accompanied by a rise in blood sugar levels.

Moreover, moderately paced walks after meals work as well at regulating overall blood sugar as a 45-minute walk once a day.

"Dr. Stephen Ross, attending physician at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, Calif., told HealthDay, that these short walks may be easier to stick to because they didn't interfere that much with someone's schedule. "If you are exercising right after you eat, that would cause blood sugar to decrease because more of the glucose would go to the muscles to help the muscles with their metabolism," Ross, who was not involved in the study, explained."

Read more about the study here.