Walking significantly decreases our blood glucose level, according to a recent meta-analysis. This analysis of 18 studies involving 20 randomized clinical trials including 866 people with type 2 diabetes found that on average it cuts the typical A1C level from the equivalent of 6.5 to 6.0.
This is especially good news for us because walking is “the activity of choice” for people with diabetes. This has long been the way that about half of us get our exercise, according to a nationwide survey.
Do it your way
It can be performed at a variety of speeds with different intensities. I prefer to do my walking slowly on long hikes in nature, but even walking through a mall helps a lot.
The surprising news is that taking a walk before eating is a great way to keep our blood glucose levels low. But whether we take a walk before or after eating — or both — we will bring down our blood glucose level at the point where it goes highest.
Taking a little walk after dinner used to be a tradition in this country. Few people do that any more, and now is the time for those of us who have diabetes to bring it back. While we are at it, we can start a new tradition of even shorter walks before dinner.
Just standing up is the easiest exercise. But we need to schedule it.
Standing up might be one of the smartest things that you do today. So, push that chair away from your desk. Pause that long meal to rise from the table. Pull your butt up from that easy chair.
Sitting for more than half an hour at a stretch is hazardous for your health. It’s particularly bad for anyone who has diabetes or prediabetes.
When we wear a pedometer we can get the motivation we need to manage diabetes better. My friend John is the best example I know.
I recently visited him in Northern California for five days. Since each of us have both type 2 diabetes and like to get out in nature a lot, I thought that we might take some walks together. But I had no idea how many, because I hadn’t known about his new pedometer.
Now that he wears a pedometer all the time, he hikes almost every day. And every day that we spent together, we got out in the woods or on the beach. He took me on seven hikes, one that took us nine hours to finish.
John Hikes from the Skyline to the Sea
His pedometer motivates him to count his daily steps. The longest hike we took together measured 39,000 steps and took us well over 13 miles, many of them much more challenging that where I took the photograph above. I wrote about that great hike in “From the Skyline to the Sea” in my Fitness and Photography for Fun blog.
When it comes to our walking speed, moderation doesn’t seem to be the best policy.
Those of us who have diabetes can manage our blood sugar levels better when we alternate between slow and fast walking, according to a new study. When we walk at a constant pace, we don’t get the reduced blood sugar benefit of our physical activity.
The conclusions of the study fly in the face of the usual recommendations that people with type 2 diabetes should avoid high-intensity exercise out of concern that we might get hurt and because we just aren’t likely to take this advice. Yet, the new study doesn’t show that we get any better blood sugar control unless we do interval training.
A new study of more than 55,000 runners is huge good news for most people with diabetes who are too busy to dedicate a lot of time to physical activity. The experts have been telling us for years that working out is good for our health and happiness, but until now nobody knew how little physical activity we really need.
Intensity is the key that researchers from Iowa State University, the University of South Carolina, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and other institutions discovered. They published their new study last week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The abstract of the study, “Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk,” is online. D.C. Lee, assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, is the study’s lead author, and his university gave me a copy of the full text at my request.