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Just 3 Minutes of Exercise May Help Lower Blood Sugar After Dinner, According to New Research

And the exercises require little time and no equipment!

It’s long been known that physical activity helps improve blood sugar levels. When you’re active, the glucose in your blood gets used up by your muscles for energy—and this helps to lower the amount of glucose (AKA sugar) in your blood.

In fact, whether you have diabetes or not, accumulating a lot of uninterrupted sedentary time during the day can put you at a higher risk for heart disease, cancer and death from any cause. People who regularly accumulate longer bouts of sedentary time also tend to have a higher risk of metabolic diseases, as well as higher fasting blood glucose and triglyceride levels.

While previous studies have shown how breaking up sitting time with physical activity can help decrease blood sugars during the day, a new study in the August 2023 volume of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise is one of the first to look at evening activity and blood sugar. 

What also sets this study apart from previous research is that it includes people of all different BMI categories, instead of only using people at the higher end of the BMI chart.

Researchers took 30 participants, 18 to 40 years old who were not on medication to control blood sugar or triglyceride levels. They were fit with accelerometers—devices that track activity—that they wore for seven days straight. The participants all ate the same pre-made meals for the seven days and were given strict guidelines on meal timing so that the conditions were as similar for all of them as possible.

Each participant had assigned days where they sat for four hours following their evening meal, getting up only to use the bathroom. They watched TV, read or were on a device.

They also had assigned days where they performed the activity intervention in the evening after eating. This intervention also lasted four hours, but instead of sitting all that time, they broke it up with 3 minutes of basic resistance exercises every 30 minutes. The exercises were chair squats, calf raises and standing leg raises—all simple exercises that require no equipment.

The result?

The activity intervention reduced postprandial (after eating) blood glucose levels and insulin response by 32% and 26% respectively across the board—regardless of the individual’s BMI. According to the study authors, this is similar to the response that walking has on blood sugarafter eating.

Bottom Line

Even though the participants in this study did not have diabetes,physical activity has been shown to help lower blood glucose for those with diabetes, as well. So, as long as you’ve got your healthcare practitioner’s approval, there’s probably no reason you couldn’t give this healthy habit a try if you have diabetes. If you don’t have diabetes, this type of intervention and staying active can help reduce your risk of developing it and can improve your health in general.

And while you don’t have to do exactly what they did in the study, getting up and doing a few exercises during television commercials or between chapters in your book can be a simple, realistic way to help keep your blood sugars in check.

This article was taken from:

How Many Times a Week Should You Exercise? A Comprehensive Guide
How to Lose Belly Fat: A Scientific Approach
Embracing Fitness After Your 20s: Unlocking Lifelong Energy and Strength
Why Strength Training Can Reduce Chances of Weight Gain During and Post Menopause