According to research conducted by the Diabetes Charity Conference, walking for three minutes every half hour within a seven-hour period can lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 1 diabetes.
The study involved a total of 32 patients in Great Britain, where an estimated 400,000 people are affected by type 1 diabetes. This condition arises when the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, preventing the production of insulin and leading to a buildup of sugar in the blood.
Without the regular administration of synthetic insulin, diabetic patients risk developing serious complications such as kidney failure, vision loss, and heart attacks.
Monitoring blood sugar levels on a daily basis can be a challenging task for type 1 diabetics, according to Dr Elizabeth Robertson, head of research at Diabetes UK. She suggests that simple lifestyle changes, like avoiding phone use while walking, can help prevent diabetes.
Dr Matthew Campbell from the University of Sunderland, and the lead researcher on the study was surprised at how low the activity levels were in the patients, and the study results suggest that regular walking can be an easy way for diabetic patients to keep their blood sugar levels in check.
In the study, the 32 participants with type 1 diabetes engaged in seven hours of sitting, punctuated by half-hourly walks over a two-day period. Their blood sugar levels were monitored throughout, while their insulin dosage and food intake remained consistent. The results showed that regular walking was associated with lower blood sugar levels (6.9 mmol/L) compared to continuous sitting (8.2 mmol/L).
Type 2 diabetes, which is more common than type 1, occurs when the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin or when the hormone does not work properly.
Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to absorb the sugar in the blood. When we eat carbohydrates, our body breaks them down into glucose, and the pancreas releases insulin to direct the cells in our body to absorb glucose for energy.
When insulin production stops or slows down, the level of glucose in the body starts to rise, leading to diabetes. While the causes of type 1 diabetes are not well understood, type 2 diabetes is often linked to lifestyle factors like diet and exercise.