Walking for 15 minutes after a meal may provide the best benefit

Fifteen minutes of walking after a meal may decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Recent research, published in the June issue of Diabetes Care, shows that moderately-paced 15 minute walks after meals works well at regulating overall blood sugar in adults with pre-diabetes.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 35 percent of adults have prediabetes—many do not know it. In Michigan, that is about 2.6 million adults. Prediabetes means a person has a blood glucose (blood sugar) level higher than normal, but not high enough to be diabetic. Prediabetes can be diagnosed using a fasting blood glucose test (FBG), oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) or hemoglobin A1c (A1C). Prediabetes ranges are:

  • FBG = 100 -125mg/dL
  • OGTT = 140-200mg/dL
  • A1C = 5.7-6.4 percent.

Those with prediabetes have a higher risk of developing diabetes within five years. Prediabetes is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Studies have shown that people with prediabetes who lose a modest amount of weight (five to seven percent) and are physically active at least 150 minutes a week can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes. The 150 minutes can be broken into various segments, 30 minutes five days a week or even two 15 minute periods twice a day for five days. Based on the recent research results, three 15 minute periods after meals may have the highest benefit. Post meal walking was significantly (P < 0.01) more effective than 45 min of sustained morning or afternoon walking in lowering post dinner glucose between the control and experimental day. Additional information on this research can be found through the American Diabetes Association.

How can you fit in 15 minutes of physical activity after each meal? Suggestions to accomplish this goal include:

  • Keeping your walking shoes at work or in sight at home.
  • Take your family members for a stroll after each meal with you, if at home.
  • Schedule these 15 minute walks into your calendar. Set a timer or alarm on your phone or watch to remind you.
  • Schedule these 15 minute walks with a co-worker, friend or family member.
  • Put a note on the TV or computer to remind you of your 15 minute walking break.
  • If you have trouble finding a safe location or the weather does not cooperate, you can find an inside location such as a stairwell, mall, indoor track, community center or school.

Evidence has shown modest lifestyle changes reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in people with prediabetes. Michigan State University Extension is offering the National Diabetes Prevention Program which is a one-year intervention that coaches participants to adapt lifestyle changes to prevent the onset of pre-diabetes. These programs are occurring across the state of Michigan. Current interventions can be found at:



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