A Few Minutes of Activity Can Lower Blood Pressure in Type 2 Diabetes Patients

Getting in just a few minutes of activity if you're sedentary most of the day can lower your blood pressure if you have type 2 diabetes, according to new research from the American Heart Assoction.

While it's long been known that exercise is an anecdote to type 2 diabetes, most research has focused on the effects of sustained activity, not shorter bursts.

"It appears you don't have to do very much," said co-author Bronwyn Kingwell, Ph.D., head of Metabolic and Vascular Physiology at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes in Melbourne, Australia. "We saw some marked blood pressure reductions over trial days when people did the equivalent of walking to the water cooler or some simple body-weight movements on the spot."

While light activity breaks shouldn't replace regular exercise, Kingwell said, they can be a practical solution to reducing sitting time.

3-minute walking breaks

The study included 24 overweight and obese adults with type 2 diabetes who were tracked while they sat for eight hours. The participants were either instructed to take 3-minute walking breaks or do 3 minutes of basic resistance exercises every half-hour.

Results showed that walking was linked to a 10-point drop in systolic blood pressure, while simple resistance activities were associated with a 12-point drop.

According to Kingwell, the muscles that are activated when you move increase the uptake of blood sugar, while also lowering norepinephrine levels, a hormone that can raise blood sugar.

Source: American Heart Association

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