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How 2 Minutes of Walking After a Meal Can Lower Your Blood Sugar

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How 2 Minutes of Walking After a Meal Can Lower Your Blood Sugar

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Walking is often seen as a mundane, even boring, activity. It is something we do to get from point A to point B, with little thought given to the act itself. However, walking is the most incredible thing we can do in many ways. It is how we explore the world, move through space, and interact with our environment.  Walking is also a great exercise, and people of all ages and abilities can enjoy it.

Walking is often seen as a low-impact form of exercise, but it can actually have a big impact on your health, especially if you have diabetes. Walking can help prevent blood sugar spikes by regulating the body's insulin release. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels, and when it is released in response to walking, it helps keep blood sugar levels from rising too high.

In addition, walking can also help improve the body's sensitivity to insulin, making it more effective at regulating blood sugar levels. As a result, even a short walk can have a big impact on blood sugar control. So next time you reach for the car keys, consider putting on your walking shoes instead.

This article will discuss how walking can lower your blood sugar.

How Walking Helps Lower Blood Sugar

Walking is often lauded as a simple yet effective way to improve one's overall health. And for a good reason - research has shown that walking can lower blood sugar levels, improve heart health, and boost mood and energy levels. But how does walking actually help lower blood sugar? The answer lies in the way that our bodies use glucose for energy.

Glucose is a type of sugar found in the bloodstream and used by the body for energy. However, if there is too much glucose in the blood, it can lead to health problems such as diabetes. Walking helps lower blood sugar levels by increasing the amount of glucose the body can use for energy. When we walk, our muscles need the energy to power our movements.

They obtain this energy by breaking down glucose molecules. This process helps regulate blood sugar levels and prevents them from rising too high. So next time you take a stroll around the block, remember that you are getting some fresh air and exercise and helping to keep your blood sugar levels in check!

According to the American Diabetes Association, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week for optimal cardiometabolic health. And while that may seem like a lot, research has shown that even less exercise can still deliver some health benefits.

For example, one study established that taking a 20-minute post-meal walk can help reduce a meal’s glycemic impact, leading to less extreme spikes in blood sugar levels. So, if you’re looking for an excuse to avoid the gym, you can at least take solace in knowing that a simple stroll around the block can still do your body good.

The Difference Between Light Walking Vs. Standing

When it comes to walking, there are two main schools of thought, light walking, and standing. And the eternal debate on which of the two is a better option to reduce blood sugar levels remains ongoing.

Studies have shown that light walking and standing can help lower blood sugar levels. However, light walking appears to be more effective than standing in terms of the magnitude of the reduction in blood sugar levels. In one study, participants who walked for 30 minutes after eating a high-sugar meal had a significantly lower blood sugar level than those who simply stood for the same amount of time. So, light walking may be the better option if you're looking to lower your blood sugar levels.

Another analysis based on seven individual research studies looked at the impact of sitting, standing, and walking on the participants’ insulin and blood sugar levels. The people in the studies were asked to either stand or walk for two to five minutes every 20 to 30 minutes over the course of a full day.

The results showed that standing was better than sitting regarding blood sugar levels, but it didn't do anything to lower insulin levels in the bloodstream. However, if people went for a short walk after eating, their blood sugar levels rose and fell more gradually, and their insulin levels were more stable than either standing or sitting.

So what does this all mean? Well, it's still unclear whether standing or walking is better for you than sitting. But one thing is for sure: if you want to avoid health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle, you should probably take a break from sitting every once in a while and go for a walk.

How to Incorporate Walking Into Your Routine

Regardless of one’s routine, taking a short stroll can be extremely beneficial and enjoyable for you. If you are engaged in long hours of work, here’s how you can add a little bit of activity to your routine:

  • Climb the stairs up and down a couple of times after lunch
  • Do calf raises while sitting on your desk or in the meeting room
  • Perform squats while brushing your teeth
  • Suggest a walk-around meeting when having a one-on-one
  • Try to have a dance party for a couple of minutes during work

Other Benefits of Walking After a Meal

Walking after dinner has several potential benefits besides lowering blood sugar levels. Here are some of them:

Improves Digestion

According to experts, walking can help improve digestion by stimulating food movement through your intestines. In addition, the gentle, rhythmic movements of walking help massage your internal organs, aiding in the breakdown of food and the absorption of nutrients.

Walking has also been proven to prevent ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, heartburn, etc.

Regulates Blood Pressure

Walking is a great way to help regulate blood pressure levels. When we walk, our heart rate increases, and our blood vessels dilate, which lowers blood pressure.

In addition, walking helps reduce stress levels, which can also contribute to high blood pressure. So next time you feel tense, go for a walk around the block. It may lower your blood pressure.

Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

Walking is often praised as a low-impact exercise that is good for overall health. However, it also offers specific benefits for the heart.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but regular walking can help reduce the risk. Walking helps increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and decrease levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, and it also helps lower blood pressure.

Promotes Weight Loss

Walking has many benefits for weight loss. First, it helps boost your metabolism, which means you’ll burn more calories. Additionally, walking helps build muscle, and muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. Finally, walking is a low-impact exercise, so it’s easy on your joints and won’t leave you feeling exhausted.

Make sure to combine it with a calorie deficit diet, and you’ll be able to reap several benefits by breaking a sweat from walking. Adding a fat-loss supplement can further enhance the results. 

FAQs

1. Can I walk after dinner to lose weight?

The answer to this age-old question is both simple and complicated. You can walk after dinner to lose weight, but there's a catch. Walking after dinner will only help you lose weight if you keep up the pace. 

That means no strolling leisurely around the block or taking a leisurely stroll through the mall. Instead, you need to get your heart rate up and work up a sweat. Only then will you see the pounds start to melt away. So go ahead and take a walk after dinner, but don't forget to pick up the pace if you want to see results.

2. What are the side effects of walking after dinner?

Walking is associated with very few side effects. Some people experience symptoms of an upset stomach after walking, such as bloating, diarrhoea, gas, and indigestion. To avoid these, wait 10-15 minutes after a meal. 

3. How many steps to walk after dinner for weight loss?

If you want to maximize weight loss, here's what you need to do: take at least 10,000 steps. That might sound like a lot, but it's actually not as difficult as it sounds. A brisk 10-minute walk will get you about 1,000 steps, so if you can fit in a few of those throughout the day, you'll be well on your way to your goal. 

4. Is walking 30 minutes after dinner recommended?

Walking for 30 minutes a day helps promote weight loss and improve digestion. Additionally, walking after a meal can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of diabetic complications. If you experience any side effects, try waiting 15-20 minutes after the meal to go for a walk.

The Bottom Line

And that's how, simply by going for a short walk after eating, you can help keep your blood sugar levels in check. So next time you're tempted to sit on the couch and scroll through your phone after dinner, remember that a two-minute walk could be all it takes to prevent blood sugar spikes. And who knows? You might even enjoy the fresh air and quality time with your thoughts. So get up and move - your blood sugar will thank you for it!

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Article Sources

  • Colberg, Sheri R., et al. “Postprandial Walking Is Better for Lowering the Glycemic Effect of Dinner than Pre-Dinner Exercise in Type 2 Diabetic Individuals.” Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, vol. 10, no. 6, July 2009, pp. 394–97. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2009.03.015.
  • Reynolds, Andrew N., and Bernard J. Venn. “The Timing of Activity after Eating Affects the Glycaemic Response of Healthy Adults: A Randomised Controlled Trial.” Nutrients, vol. 10, no. 11, Nov. 2018, p. 1743. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111743.
  • Buffey, Aidan J., et al. “The Acute Effects of Interrupting Prolonged Sitting Time in Adults with Standing and Light-Intensity Walking on Biomarkers of Cardiometabolic Health in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Sports Medicine, vol. 52, no. 8, Aug. 2022, pp. 1765–87. Springer Link, https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-022-01649-4.
  • Song, Bong Kil, et al. “Combined Exercise Improves Gastrointestinal Motility in Psychiatric in Patients.” World Journal of Clinical Cases, vol. 6, no. 8, Aug. 2018, pp. 207–13. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.12998/wjcc.v6.i8.207.
  • Martin, Donald. “Physical Activity Benefits and Risks on the Gastrointestinal System.” Southern Medical Journal, vol. 104, no. 12, Dec. 2011, pp. 831–37. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1097/SMJ.0b013e318236c263.
  • Saxena, Yogesh, et al. “Blood Pressure Reduction Following Accumulated Physical Activity in Prehypertensive.” Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, vol. 5, no. 2, 2016, pp. 349–56. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.4103/2249-4863.192368.
  • Nystoriak, Matthew A., and Aruni Bhatnagar. “Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise.” Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, vol. 5, Sept. 2018, p. 135. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2018.00135.
  • Cox, Carla E. “Role of Physical Activity for Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance.” Diabetes Spectrum : A Publication of the American Diabetes Association, vol. 30, no. 3, Aug. 2017, pp. 157–60. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0013.

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