Short Walks to Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risks in the Elderly

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According to a recent update on the diabetes management type 2 diabetes in elderly people can be managed and brought under control with short walks generally after meals. It helps check the blood sugar spikes usually after meals. The findings need to be confirmed in trials with large groups.

Type 2 Diabetes

Walking reduces insulin resistance

Insulin is required in the body to manage and regulate blood sugar levels. However, older people may not find it easy to control their blood glucose because insulin secretion from the pancreas could be slow and low in them. Rise in blood sugar levels especially after meals needs to be controlled for appropriate diabetes management.

One of the key risk factors leading to full blown diabetes, and heart problems arising from poor glucose tolerance is high level of glucose after meals. However, the study conducted by the School of Public Health and Health Services of George Washington University found that walks after three meals, could effectively combat rising blood sugar over 24 hours and were comparable to 45 minutes’ walk. The study found that post-meal walks were significantly more useful in diabetes management for at least three hours.

The upshot of the finding is that three short walks after meals could prove more efficacious at reducing insulin resistance.

Rest after meals: Not advisable

While it is known that walking helps in managing diabetes, what comes as a revelation is that walking especially after meals is even more helpful. An implication of this finding is that rest after meals can be truly disastrous for diabetics because the blood sugar level spikes after a meal. So, if you think you can rest after meals and yet manage diabetes, think again.

Diabetes management can be much easier by avoiding rest after meals. Older people usually avoid walking after meals. Many of them prefer to watch TV or take a nap after their meals in the afternoon and evening. However, the recent research clearly indicates that the worst thing you can do is take a nap after your meal. The old adage “After dinner, walk a mile” is proving so true after all. However, the same old adage also recommends, “After lunch, rest a while”, which is not advisable by the new findings.

Walking and blood sugar levels

This study was implemented on ten people in the age group of 60 and above. Their fasting sugar level was more than normal and their physical activity was insufficient. They were considered at risk for diabetes, type 2. They took no precaution in favor of diabetes management, but were non-smokers and overall healthy. They were subjected to 3 programs on exercise, at an interval of four weeks in a random order. Each program meant that they stayed in a closed room with a room calorimeter.

These people consumed standard meals and their blood glucose level was constantly monitored for 48 hours. They used treadmills to walk at slow to moderate pace. The findings revealed that walking after evening meals is the most effective way to control blood sugar levels in the body.

It was observed that significant rise in blood glucose levels was after the evening meal, which is not only the largest in 24 hours but also the one that lasts long till early morning hours. It could however be curbed dramatically with the post-meal walk.


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