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For Diabetes, Three 10-Minute After-Meal Walks Likely Beat One 30-Min. Daily Walk

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For Diabetes, Three 10-Minute After-Meal Walks Likely Beat One 30-min. Daily Walk

© 2016, David Leonard, Educational Program Coordinator (retired), Nutrition Connections Program, Univ. of NH Coop. Extension

This study with 41 type-2 adults (average age 60 with 10 years diabetes duration) compared the effect of 2 moderate-intensity walking routines on after-meal blood sugar readings:

  • One 30-minute walk at any time of the day for 2 weeks
  • A 10-minute walk right after each main meal for 2 weeks

Study Result

  • After-meal blood sugar measured over 3 hours was 12% lower following a 10-minute walk after each main meal compared to one 30-minute walk at any time of the day. For example, a person averaging a 200 mg/dl post-meal blood sugar with one 30-minute walk daily would see that drop to 176 mg/dl after switching to three 10-minute after-meal walks. Of course, individual results will vary.
  • The biggest benefit (a 22% drop in after-meal blood sugar) occurred with the 10-minute after-dinner walk, likely because dinners were typically the meal highest in carbs, and after-dinner physical activity was generally low (except when the 10-minute after-dinner walk was done). That's the difference between 200 mg/dl & 156 mg/dl or between 240 mg/dl & 187 mg/dl.
  • A longer walk (say, 15-20 minutes) after the day's meal highest in carbs would likely have even more benefit. (Or more vigorous walking. One variation is "interval" walking where you alternate 4-5 minutes of regular walking with 1-minute of very fast pace walking.  Research shows it benefits blood sugar & blood vessel health more than regular walking.)  You could experiment with these variations after trying the study's routine for a week or two and comparing blood sugar effects. Measure it right before you eat to get a baseline and then about 2 hours later. Record your readings.
  • NOTE: Other similar activities like bicycling or using an elliptical machine could be substituted for walking.

How this Information Can Help You

  • Lowering your after-meal blood sugar has a big influence on reducing your A1c, as well as lowering the risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and diabetic nerve pain.
  • The researchers note that after-meal walking may have special benefit for insulin users by allowing them to reduce their total daily dosage or eliminate the need for mealtime injections to lower after-meal blood sugar. And lower insulin dosages are also associated with less weight gain. CAUTION!: Do not adjust your insulin dosage w/o approval from your diabetes care provider.

How this Study Was Done

  • It used a “crossover” design, meaning that each subject participated in both walking options for a 2-week period separated by a “washout” period of 30 days (just their normal activity) between them.
  • The order of the walking patterns was randomly assigned, so half the group began with a 10-minute walk right after each meal while the other half began with the 30-min walk at any time of the day.
  • Blood sugar was measured with continuous glucose monitors that took readings every 5 minutes over 7 days
  • Subjects wore accelerometers (movement intensity monitors) to accurately measure exercise intensity and duration.

Study source: Article in the medical journal Diabetologia, published online 10/17/16. Abstract at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27747394

DON'T MISS my other posts in this Health Issues Forum:


  • The info presented in this post should not replace professional medical or dietary advice, diagnosis or treatment.
  • Always consult your registered dietitian or physician before making any significant dietary or exercise changes.
  • Don't ignore professional medical advice due to the info presented here.
  • There is no guarantee that these recommendations will work for you.
Edited by David1941

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Has anyone tried the three 10-minute after-meal walks routine to see if it improves after-meal blood sugar compared to one 30-minute walk daily? Measure it right before you eat to get a baseline and then about 2 hours later. Record your readings.


Edited by David1941

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Thank You!  Got diagnosed type2 three years ago and read everything I can on the big D (An I don't mean Dallas!)

With diet and exercise I've kept my AiC at under 5.2 since diagnosed. But it ain't easy. And I miss my Hostess Cupcakes!

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