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Effect of Post-dinner Exercise on Postprandial Glycemia in Type 2 Diabetes

A 30 minute walk after dinner may have significant benefits in diabetics…. 

The objective of this study was to assess the impact of walking or other recreational activity on postprandial glycemia, heart rate variability, and mood state following dinner. Individuals in this study consisted of 12, uncomplicated type 2 diabetes (9 female, 3 male; 58.7 ± 2.4 years) not using insulin or beta-blockers.

In a university clinical testing laboratory, study participants took part in 3 trials on different days during a week after ingestion of dinner. Following a dinner meal, standardized to 300 ± 6 kcals, study participants participated in 1 of 3 interventions; 30 minutes of self-paced walking on a treadmill, 30 minutes of table tennis and 30 minutes of rest. Immediately following the diner meal, blood glucose readings were taken at 30-minute intervals for a total of 180 minutes. A profile of Mood States was completed before and immediately following exercise or rest. Heart rate variability was assessing before the dinner meal and 30 minutes following the commencement of the trial.

Compared with table pong or rest, individuals who walked on the treadmill had significantly lower postprandial blood glucose (P < .05) as well as a greater quantity of physical activity than individuals who participated in 30 minutes of table pong (+72%) or rest (+91%; P < 0.01). In addition, the average heart rate of those who walked on the treadmill was significantly greater than during table pong (+25.9 bpm; P < 0.01).

No significant differences were seen in regards to mood state or heart rate variability were found among the different study groups.

Practice Pearls:
  • Exercise is beneficial for all patients including diabetic patients
  • Brisk, self-paced walking for 30 minutes following dinner may be useful for lowering postprandial blood glucose levels
  • Patients taking a 30 minute self-paced walk or playing a recreation game of table tennis for 30 minutes had the same outcome on mood state and heart rate variability

Colberg SR, Grieco CR, Somma CT. Exercise effects on postprandial glycemia, mood, and sympathovagal balance in type 2 diabetes. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2014;15(4):261-6.