A brisk walk after dinner has often been thought to help you digest a meal.
Now scientists have actually proved that going for just a two minute walk after eating can bring with it a host of health benefits.
A light-intensity walk after a meal can help reduce blood-sugar levels which can help ward off complications such as Type 2 diabetes, researchers from the University of Limerick have found.
Scientists have suggested that a 15-minute walk is optimum but even ‘mini walks’ of two to five minutes offer some benefit.
Experts have advised a short walk within 60 to 90 minutes of eating a meal.
They believe this is the best time for minimising blood sugar spikes, as that is when blood sugar levels tend to peak.
Blood sugar spikes occur when your blood sugar rises and then falls sharply after you eat.
Over time, your body may not be able to lower blood sugar effectively, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. It is therefore important to manage blood sugar levels and avoid blood sugar spikes.
The research, which was published in the journal Sports Medicine, looked at the results of seven studies that compared the effects of sitting versus standing or walking and its impact on heart health, including insulin and blood sugar levels.
Researchers discovered that standing after a meal was better than sitting but a brisk walk was most effective at regulating blood sugar levels.
When participants walked after their meals, their blood sugar levels fluctuated more gradually than those who simply sat down.
For people with type 2 diabetes it’s important to keep blood sugar levels as stable as possible to manage the disease and help prevent serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic but manageable condition, however people with it are more likely to develop other deadly diseases or suffer heart attack or stroke.
Speaking to The Sun, Aidan Buffey, lead author of the review, suggested several ways in which people can fit this additional walking into their daily lives.
“I would suggest blocking time into your work calendar for a walk – perhaps the last five minutes of the hour, ” he said.
“People could also use an app or phone timer that goes off after a certain time of sitting/working such as 20, 30 or 45 minutes where you would then walk”, he explained.
“Walking lunches, or walking away from your desk and eating somewhere else in the office or outside.
For those working in an office, Aidan suggested “walking emails” which involve delivering notes or verbally discussing the email in person.
He also suggested people try walking or standing meetings where possible.
Meanwhile, studies have shown that napping may be a risk factor for deadly diseases, including silent killers such as high blood pressure.
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