Benefits of Taking a Walk after Dinner

Posted 02/13/2017 | By HealthCorps

A recent study published in the journal Diabetologia found that if you have diabetes type 2, a walk after dinner might help to modulate blood sugar levels.

In the study, 41 people with Type 2 diabetes walked 150 minutes per week.  In phase one of the study, subjects walked 30 minutes a day at whatever time they wanted.  In phase two of the study (30 days after phase one), they were told to take a ten minute walk, no later than five minutes after completing each meal daily, for a total of three ten minute walks in the day.  Blood sugar levels were monitored after meals in both phases.  Results showed that walking after a meal helped to lower blood sugar levels more effectively.

Postprandial blood sugar level, which is your blood sugar level after consuming food, averaged 12 percent lower when subjects took their walks after meals, in close proximity to completing the meal.  The largest drop in the post-meal blood sugar, 22 percent, was seen in the subjects after their post-dinner walk.

The current fitness recommendation for patients with Type 2 diabetes is 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly.  The researchers believe that this study might lead physicians to specifically recommend that patients divide up that exercise time or at minimum, save time to walk after dinner meals, especially if the meal is carbohydrate-heavy (includes bread, rice, pasta, or potatoes).  Any habit that can help to modulate blood sugars levels can help limit the impact of diabetes.

One expert did offer some cautionary advice.  Since many patients who have Type 2 diabetes often have heart disease as well, walking right after a meal might not allow enough blood circulation to their heart.  Digestion requires a fair amount of your blood supply for oxygen support during the process, and to transport nutrients once digested.  So walking after a meal in the presence of diabetes and heart disease, may have the potential to instigate a heart event, in spite of the well-intentioned effort to moderate blood sugar levels.

A walk after dinner or any meal may be beneficial to the general population, kids included. Walking after a meal:

  • Improves digestion and helps control blood sugar
  • Can help to accelerate the rate of digestion
  • Is better for blood sugar (especially after all three meals daily) than one long walk during the day
  • Helps you to clear your mind and also can help to improve mood

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