Regular walking cuts the risk of diabetes–study

If you have no time for a power walk, don’t fret! The small micro-movements that you make throughout the day can be important for health claims a new study.

According to experts, taking a two minute stroll around the office may seem like a small amount of exercise, but done frequently can help ward off diabetes. It was noted that people who regularly walked for just one minute and 40 seconds had lower blood sugar and insulin levels.

Anthony Barnett, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust stated, “Short bursts of regular exercise in people with sedentary occupations appears to be at least as good as longer, but less frequent, periods of exercise in improving sugar and fat levels.”

Study of 70 healthy adults
In a bid to determine whether regular mini strolls at work can slash the risk of diabetes researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand conducted a study. They recruited 70 adults aged between 18–40 years, non smokers who had a predominantly sedentary occupation.

The subjects reportedly had no history of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or other medical conditions that stopped them from engaging in physical activity or affected fat or carbohydrate metabolism.

The volunteers were asked to sit for nine hours and consumed a “meal-replacement beverage” (some type of soup, smoothie or fortified shake) at 1 hour, 2 hours, and 7 hours during the sitting period. Subsequently they underwent blood tests to monitor how effectively they metabolised their food.

In the second phase of the study, the subjects sat for nine hours again but this time walked around for their workplace one minute 40 seconds every half an hour.

Outcome of the study
The analysis revealed the bodies of adults who sat for nine straight hours absorbed more sugar from the foods that they consumed. In contrast, those who interrupted the nine hour sitting period with walking for one minute 40 seconds every half hour exhibited lowered blood sugar levels.

The researchers to concluded that “regular activity breaks were more effective than continuous physical activity at decreasing postprandial [after eating] glycemia and insulinemia [blood glucose and insulin levels] in healthy, normal-weight adults”.

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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