30 minutes. That’s the minimum (according to health authorities) you should be walking every day to stay healthy. Of course, 60 minutes is even better. Furthermore, adding in some type of higher intensity exercise a few times a week is optimal.
Based on these guidelines, many people start their day with a brisk walk. And while this does indeed improve blood sugar, BP, and well-being overall, there is something even better as far as the former is concerned.
According to a recent study, the timing of your walk actually plays a big role in blood sugar control. In this experiment, researchers recruited ten overweight, pre-diabetic, and sedentary volunteers and had them walk at various times of the day.
On one day they walked 45 minutes in the morning. On another they walked 45 minutes in the afternoon. And on a third day they took three 15-minute walks – one after each meal.
As it turns out, walking after eating fared best in terms of lowering blood sugar. And the results aren’t all that surprising. In fact, it makes perfect sense. According to the study’s lead researcher, Loretta DiPietro, “A post meal walk is timed to when blood glucose just starts to climb… The muscle activity and the muscle contractions help to clear glucose… It’s like another set of hands to help the pancreas halt the surge of glucose.”
So, how can these findings benefit you?
For starters, skip the morning walk. It’s much better to move throughout the day on a constant basis rather then schedule a certain time in the day to “get your exercise in”. And as the study shows, when this movement closely follows a meal, it helps clear blood sugar even better.
The end result is that you’ll need less insulin to do the same. And lower levels of insulin translates to less fat storage AND easier fat burning. The best part is that it’s easier to move throughout the day rather than schedule a timed workout. Plus it feels like less of a “chore”.
Here are my suggestions:
- Get yourself a pedometer and carry it with you at all times. It’s a great motivator to move more as you try and “beat your best”. More importantly, it will let you know how you’re actually doing overall.
- Make a habit of carrying out little tasks throughout your day. For instance, I drink two coffees daily – one in the morning and one after lunch. I buy them from Dunkin Donuts… not necessarily because I like the coffee there… but because it gets me moving.
And there are several other “tasks” like that you can do on a regular basis. For instance, if you work at a desk job, go grab some water every 45 minutes. Or if you need to send a few faxes and they’re not time sensitive, spread them out throughout your work-day just to get out of the chair.
Those are just a couple of examples. There are literally endless amounts of things you can do to keep moving. Figure out what works for you and just do it. It’s simple, it works, and will keep you fit and healthy without actually having to “exercise”. What could be better?