HealthDay News — For patients with type 2 diabetes, a short walk after eating may help lower blood glucose levels more than exercising at other times of the day, according to research published online in Diabetologia.

Andrew Reynolds, PhD, of the University of Otago in New Zealand, and colleagues had 41 patients with type 2 diabetes walk a total of 150 minutes a week. In the first phase of the study, participants walked for 30 minutes daily whenever they wanted. In the second phase, 30 days after the first phase, participants were told to take a 10-minute walk no later than five minutes after each meal. During both phases, blood glucose was monitored. Walking after meals lowered blood glucose levels more effectively among the participants, the researchers found.

In a second study in the same issue of the journal, researchers analyzed the findings of 23 studies on the relationship between physical activity and incidence of type 2 diabetes. In all, these studies included more than 1.2 million people. Among these participants, 84,144 developed type 2 diabetes, the researchers reported.

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The team led by Andrea Smith, with the Health Behavior Research Center at University College London, found that those who exercised at least 150 minutes a week had a 26% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The results also suggested that exercising more than the recommended 150 minutes had even greater benefits in reducing the risk of diabetes, cutting it by more than half.

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  1. Reynolds AN, Mann JI, Williams S, Venn BJ. Advice to walk after meals is more effective for lowering postprandial glycaemia in type 2 diabetes mellitus than advice that does not specify timing: a randomised crossover study. Diabetologia 17 October 2016. doi:10.1007/s00125-016-4085-2