All of our patients who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes find out immediately that in order to lower their blood sugar, exercise must be a part of their lifestyle. While we go over this in the clinic, the reality is that starting an exercise program, when one wasn’t in place beforehand, is a VERY daunting task. We find that most newly diagnosed (and past) diabetics and pre-diabetics are very scared of the gym as well as exercise itself (so are a lot of people in fact).
Luckily for our patients, we have a lot experience in exercise prescription, which means we can make the simplest AND most effective blood sugar busting workouts whether going to the gym or doing it at home. Below I will go over the simplest “most bang for your buck” exercise that you DON’T need a gym for. If you’re diabetic/pre-diabetic/insulin resistant/etc you can get a more detailed plan in our upcoming free e-book 5 Steps to Beat High Blood Sugar (and get leaner!) Plan – Sign up for our newsletter below to be the first to know when it launches.
There have been multiple studies recently that show which combinations of exercise work best for lowering fasting blood sugars , A1c’s, and insulin levels. We have seen with our exercise plan (in combination with the rest of our 5 step plan) that our patients’ blood sugar numbers drop BIG TIME and many even get completely off their meds! Obviously this may depend greatly on how long the patient has been diabetic, but either way there is a vast improvement.
The ONE Necessary Exercise
Are you ready for this? It’s walking. Yep, but not just any walking. It is walking after meals. This might seem so stupid and you might be saying, “Hey Dr. Nadolsky I thought you were going to give me some gold!” Well let me tell you – this is gold. I have proof, I promise! What’s even better is that this is one of the best exercises for those without blood sugar issues as well to ensure proper sugar metabolism.
My Patients and Multiple Studies
The reason I like walking so much is for two reasons: 1. It is the easiest exercise to do and 2. It works. For this reason it is the first exercise I prescribe to my patients. With this one change alone my patient’s after meal (post-prandial) blood sugars drop around 20%! For diabetics, this study showed walking after meals was better than before meals for blood sugar control. For those considered to have normal blood sugars, this study showed a decrease in blood sugar rise after meals as well. This study shows that walking after meals doesn’t only affect blood sugar but also blood pressure and post-prandial lipemia (fat in the blood after meals) as opposed to sitting.
If you live with friends or family, the other unspoken benefit of walking after meals is bonding. It is a time to get outside and continue to enjoy each other’s company instead of going to the computer or TV before calling it a night. My wife and I continue to do this on a daily basis and I believe it has strengthened our relationship and communication while also delivering the health benefits listed. Win Win!
What to do
Optimal: Walk after every meal. The longer the better, but shoot for 30 minutes.
Still good: Pick one meal to walk after. Shoot for 30 minutes but anything is better than nothing.
Literally doing anything but sitting after meals will go a long way. Instead of going straight to the TV or computer, if you can’t go for a walk because it is too cold or dark outside, do the dishes or laundry or just SOMETHING. I know for those who have had higher blood sugars for a while must think this is too simple but try it out for a few months and get your hemoglobin A1c checked. If it hasn’t decreased then you have permission to call me an idiot. 🙂