Deskbound at Work? Just Move It

So you have a sedentary job and your schedule is too busy to make time for the gym. Does this situation sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. I often hear from clients that they sit in front of a computer all day and have no time to exercise.

As a treatment for diabetes, exercise is often overlooked. Why? Because it takes time—and a little extra impetus or momentum that sometimes we just don’t have. But exercise is of course crucial because it lowers glucose and increases insulin sensitivity. Exercise’s lowering effects on glucose vary among individuals, depending on the type of diabetes a person has, current fitness level, the duration of exercise, and the intensity of exercise.

Break up your time spent sitting

A recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care from Australia showed that all it takes to lower postprandial glucose and insulin levels in adults who are overweight or obese is to break sedentary periods of sitting up with little 2-minute walks every 20 minutes—3 per hour. This study was not done in people who had diabetes but in people who were at risk for diabetes.

Specifically, the study provided the participants with a standard drink as a meal, and then measured their glucose and insulin levels for 5 hours after this meal. Taking a 2-minute walking break 3 times per hour, over the course of 5 hours, amounts to 30 minutes of exercise. Participants who took a light (2-minute) walking break lowered their glucose levels by 24 percent, while those who took a moderate walking break (still walking for 2 minutes, but more vigorously) lowered their glucose levels by 30 percent.

So what does this mean for those of us who sit all day at work? Don’t think you have to do 30 minutes of continuous exercise every day. Merely walking more frequently, but for short periods of time, can make a difference. Try this walking plan while you are at work, and see if you notice a change in your glucose levels.

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