Type 2 Diabetes and the Best Time to Exercise
According to a pair of studies posted last week in Diabetologia, the time that you exercise may be just as important as how you exercise for type 2 diabetics.
This new information is critical to the enormous numbers of people with type 2 diabetes – approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population. For many of these individuals, proper diet and exercise can help keep their diabetes under control and prevent the complications that this disorder can cause in later years.
The European Analysis
In the first study, a team lead by Andrea Smith from University College London examined the health data of over 1.2 million people across the globe. Over the study period, over 82,000 patients developed type 2 diabetes, and Smith's team sought to find out how these people's exercise habits correlated to their development of the disease.
What did they find? Those study subjects who adhered to the public health exercise guidelines – 150 minutes of activity per week – had their risk of diabetes decreased by 26 percent. Unfortunately, the data also indicated that at least one-third of the global population is not meeting this minimum requirement.
The study concluded by urging people with diabetes (and even those who are pre-diabetic or currently healthy) to ensure that they are getting exercise reqularly. “Our results suggest that the health benefits of physical activity are apparent even at levels below the recommended levels, compared to not doing any activity,” Dr. Soren Brage, joint senior author on the study, said, “but also that benefits are greater still for those who exceed the minimum recommendations.”
More Data from New Zealand
The second study, conducted by researchers in New Zealand, focused not on how much you exercised, but when you exercised. The team divided 41 test subjects into two groups: one that exercised for 30 minutes each day, and another that walked for 10 minutes after each meal.
They found that the group that walked after each meal showed better blood sugar levels after eating – the exercise brought sugar levels down by up to 22 percent. And these results were not exclusive to after-dinner numbers; by the end of the test period, those patients in the second group showed a 12 percent decrease in blood sugar compared to those who walked for a full 30 minutes.
Researchers concluded that, "The benefits relating to physical activity following meals suggest that current guidelines should be amended to specify post-meal activity, particularly when meals contain a substantial amount of carbohydrate." For many people with type 2 diabetes, these findings could mean a new exercise plan with some substantial benefits.