Take a Walk: the health benefits of light exercise after meals - Diabetes WA
 In Health, Healthy Hints and Hacks, T1DE, Talking Type 2, Type 1, Type 2

Here’s a thought. Rather than go straight from the dinner table to the TV and sofa tonight, why not consider taking a short 10-minute walk first. Better still, make it a habit and part of your daily routine.

Why you may ask?

A growing trend in recent years within both the medical and fitness communities is that basic exercise after eating a meal provides your body with multiple health benefits as a result – one key benefit of which is improved blood glucose management, particularly important for all people living with or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

By taking a short 10-15-minute stroll around the block following a meal (or another form of gentle exercise), can help to decrease insulin resistance, if this is something that affects you. This can help insulin to work more effectively and respond more appropriately to the increase in blood glucose levels after eating.  Over time this can help with your blood glucose management and in some cases reduced amounts of administered insulin or oral medications that may be required as a result.

While post-meal exercise is particularly beneficial for those living with diabetes (or pre-diabetes) from a blood glucose management perspective, everyone can take advantage of the additional health benefits of a little physical activity after eating.  These include:

Improved Digestion  

Getting your body moving gets your stomach and bowels moving – promoting stimulation of digestive juices and quicker movement of food through your system. Exercising soon after eating may also help to prevent or reduce the occurrence of peptic ulcers, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticular disease, constipation, and colorectal cancer.

Weight Loss

The more you exercise, the more energy you burn. Walking or physical activity after a meal will bring you closer to your daily energy deficit, which is mandatory if you are aiming for weight loss. Exercise will also boost your metabolism.

Heart Health

Regular exercise may lower your cholesterol, which includes the unhealthy types such as triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, which over time may help to reduce your risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Improved Blood Pressure

Increasing your overall daily exercise by adding a short with the more steps taken each day resulting in lower blood pressure overall.

In summary, the advantages of taking a walk after a meal are numerous but particularly positive for people living with diabetes where improved BGL can be achieved as a result.  It is encouraging to note that the because only short periods of light to moderate exercise are necessary to achieve the health benefits, people of all ages and fitness levels can reap the benefits of making this small lifestyle change.

If you’re not sure where to start or if you are struggling to get motivated, consider speaking to an accredited exercise physiologist. They can help to set realistic goals; keep you motivated and develop an exercise program that is safe and effective and tailored specifically to your requirements.

Alternatively, why not register for one of our upcoming Ready Set Go Let’s Move Exercise Workshops, where you will come away motivated and with a personalised exercise plan.

For more information please call the Diabetes WA Helpline on 1300 001 880.



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