(CNN) — For centuries, residents of the sunny Mediterranean have risen after long, leisurely meals to take a walk, often going to the town square to see their neighbors and socialize. Walking is part of this lifestyle, to the point where it is considered one of the cornerstones of the Mediterranean diet, which is considered healthful.
Studies have found that this may be one reason why the Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and some cancers, as well as strengthen bones, improve brain health , prevents and helps with dementia and depression. To lose weight in a healthy way.
Now you can add another reason to go for a walk after a meal: It can lower your blood sugar.
It doesn’t even take a lot of your time: According to a 2022 study published in the journal Sports Medicine, walking for two to five minutes after a meal may be enough.
Standing after meals can also help, but not as much as putting one foot in front of the other, said co-author Aidan Buffay, a doctoral student in the Department of Physical Education and Sports Science at the University of Limerick in Ireland. ,
Intermittent standing and post-meal glucose decreased by an average of 9.51% compared to prolonged sitting. To sit for long periods of time,” Buffy told CNN via email.
“This suggests that standing with breaks from prolonged sitting and light walking throughout the day is beneficial for glucose levels,” he said.
standing is good but walking is better
A meta-analysis published in February looked at seven studies comparing the effects of sitting, standing and walking on the body’s insulin and blood sugar levels. Study participants were asked to stand or walk for two to five minutes every 20 to 30 minutes throughout the day.
“In the seven studies reviewed, total activity time during observation was approximately 28 minutes, with breaks for standing and brisk walking between 2 and 5 minutes,” Buffy said.
Sitting at a desk or couch was better than walking straight in terms of blood sugar levels, but didn’t help reduce insulin in the bloodstream, according to the analysis.
However, if people walked for a while after eating, their blood sugar levels rose and fell more slowly, and their insulin levels were more stable than if they were standing or sitting, the study noted. has gone.
Experts say that avoiding blood sugar spikes is good for the body, as large spikes and rapid declines can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Studies have shown that blood sugar levels rise 60 to 90 minutes after a meal, so it’s best to walk immediately after you finish a meal.
How does movement help? Muscles need glucose to function, so motion helps remove sugar from the bloodstream; That’s why many runners rely on carb-loading before a marathon or race, for example.
Want to get the most from your efforts to lower blood sugar instead? Increase your movement to meet the minimum physical activity standards for Americans: 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity plus two days of muscle-strengthening activity per week.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “People who are physically active for about 150 minutes a week have a 33% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who are physically inactive.” Is.”
Simply put, this means that if you get up and walk for just 21.43 minutes each day of the week, you cut your risk of dying of anything by a third.
It’s worth the effort, isn’t it?