A report published by the BBC suggests that new research could revolutionise Type 1 diabetes management. The walk, sit, walk strange has been labelled ‘activity snacking’.
Before we go any further, I just want to clarify that the information presented in this article is not medical advice. If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you should consult your doctor before adopting a new strategy.
It should also be noted that the study discussed below is an early-stage trial and only assessed 32 participants. This is too small a cohort to make any concrete evaluation.
The study in question, performed by researchers at Sunderland University, found that walking around for 3 minutes intervals between 30-minute sitting periods could help to regulate blood sugar levels. This strategy could prove revolutionary for people with Type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes UK, who funded the study, believe that “activity snacking” could be an important stepping stone towards more regular physical activity for people with Type 1 diabetes.
Dr Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK, feels the findings could be a major boost for diabetics that find managing blood sugar levels “relentless”.
But everyone can benefit from this strategy as well. Activity snacking helps to manage blood glucose levels and can be used as a strategy for weight loss and improving physical and mental health.
How Can “Activity Snacking” Help To Manage Diabetes
“Activity snacking” is a term used to describe short bouts of physical activity that can be done throughout the day. Typical examples include taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing a few squats during a break at work.
For people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, activity snacking can help manage blood sugar levels without the risk of allowing glucose levels to drop too low — which is a risk in other forms of physical exercise.
Activity snacking, of course, will require practical lifestyle changes such as walking whilst talking on the phone. Dr Robertson recommended setting a walking break timer t avoid sitting for too long,
Activity snacking helps to manage diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing blood sugar spikes. Physical activity helps the body become more sensitive to insulin, which can help regulate blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Can Walk, Sit, Walk Benefit Anybody
Numerous studies show that sitting for long periods has a negative impact on physical and mental health. Whilst the Sunderland study focused on people living with diabetes, the fundamentals of intermittent exercise between periods of sitting can deliver health benefits.
Other studies show that breaking up prolonged sitting improves metabolism. Last week, we published an article examining how a 5-minute “light walk” offsets the pains of sitting.
Walking improves cardiovascular health which can reduce the risk of heart disease. Because exercise improves metabolism, there is also a case to say that activity snacks can help to manage body weight. That’s not to say walk, sit, walk is a weight loss program but can serve as a tool inside a weight loss strategy.