October 21, 2016
3 min read

Timing of daily walks improves glycemic profile in type 2 diabetes

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Adults with type 2 diabetes saw lower postprandial blood glucose when they took three daily 10-minute walks after meals vs. when they took daily 30-minute walks at unspecified times, according to recent findings.

“Postprandial physical activity may avoid the need for an increased total insulin dose or additional mealtime insulin injections that might otherwise have been prescribed to lower glucose levels after eating,” Andrew N. Reynolds, PhD, of the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Center at the University of Otago, New Zealand, told Endocrine Today. “An increase in insulin dose might, in turn, be associated with weight gain in patients with type 2 diabetes, many of whom are already overweight or obese.”

Andrew Reynolds
Andrew N. Reynolds

In a randomized, crossover study, Reynolds and colleagues analyzed data from 41 adults with type 2 diabetes assigned to two interventions separated by a 30-day washout period (mean age, 60 years; mean diabetes duration, 10 years). For the first intervention, participants were asked to take a single 30-minute walk at any time of day for 2 weeks. In the second intervention, participants were asked to take a 10-minute walk after each of the three main meals, started within 5 minutes of completing the meal. Researchers asked participants not to change their diet or lifestyle habits during the study period beyond complying with the walking regimens.

On day 1 of each intervention, participants provided a fasting blood sample and received accelerometers. On day 7, participants received continuous glucose monitors, blood glucose meters and 7-day food diaries. Participants provided a second fasting blood sample on day 14 of each intervention. Primary outcome of postprandial glycemia was assessed during the 3 hours after the meal by incremental area under the curve.

Researchers found that participants had improved postprandial blood glucose when performing the after-meal walks vs. when performing the unspecified 30-minute daily walks (ratio of geometric means, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.78-0.99). Researchers noted that the improvement was “particularly striking” after the evening meal walk (ratio of geometric means, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.67-0.91), when the most carbohydrates were consumed and sedentary behaviors were highest.

Reynolds said it is important to identify means of achieving adherence to increase physical activity or to support dietary change.

“We need to enable the healthy choice by making it the easy choice,” he said. – by Regina Schaffer

For more information:

Andrew N. Reynolds, PhD, can be reached at the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Center at the University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand; email: Andrew.reynolds@otago.ac.nz.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.