Taking short walks after meals may help significantly lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, a new study has claimed.
The research from University of Otago in New Zealand indicates that walking after meals is better at reducing blood sugar levels than taking a single 30 minute walk at any time of the day.
The researchers prescribed walking to 41 patients with type 2 diabetes in two-week blocks, separated by a month.
The patients - who were fitted with accelerometers to measure their physical activity and devices that measured their blood sugar every five minutes - were to walk either for thirty minutes a day as advised by guidelines, or to walk for 10 minutes after each main meal.
The study found that post-meal blood sugar levels dropped 12 per cent on average when the participants followed the walking after meals advice compared to walking at any time of the day.
"Most of this effect came from the highly significant 22 per cent reduction in blood sugar when walking after evening meals, which were the most carbohydrate heavy, and were followed by the most sedentary time," study first author Andrew Reynolds said.
Post-meal glucose is regarded as an important target in managing type 2 diabetes, given its independent contribution to overall blood sugar control and cardiovascular risk.
"Postprandial physical activity may avoid the need for an increased total insulin dose or additional mealtime insulin injections that might otherwise have been prescribed to lower glucose levels after eating," said Professor Jim Mann, corresponding author of the study.
"An increase in insulin dose might, in turn, be associated with weight gain in patients with type 2 diabetes, many of whom are already overweight or obese," said Mann.
The finding was published in the journal Diabetologia.