As a kid, your mother may have warned you to wait at least 30 minutes before jumping into the pool after eating. But according to a recent study, light exercise after you eat a meal is actually helpful .

The findings suggest that a quick walk after a meal – even for as little as two to five minutes – can improve blood sugar levels and potentially reduce the chances of developing diabetes or cardiovascular issues.

>Talk with your primary care provider about how to keep your blood sugar levels within target.

According to the study authors, the contractions of your muscles use glucose and lower blood sugar levels. When done before the glucose peak – 60 to 90 minutes after eating – it can prevent a glucose spike.

As of 2019, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes, and another 96 million American adults are prediabetic.

Michael LeMay, MD, an endocrinologist at Hartford HealthCare Medical Group, said, “it really doesn’t matter what the exercise is.” Walking, weight lifting, swimming, biking or yoga can all get the job done. They all provide benefits in terms of blood sugar control, cholesterol levels, bone density and overall mental health, said Dr. Lemay.

Controlling your blood sugar is important in avoiding complications of diabetes. “Those people who optimize their blood sugar are decreasing their chances of complications that lead to poor quality of life,” said Dr. LeMay.

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To maintain your blood sugar levels throughout the day it’s essential that you are:

  • Eating a healthy diet with enough fruit and vegetables
  • Managing a healthy body weight
  • Getting regular physical activity