Harvard Health Letter

Stop sitting, get moving, to lower diabetes risk

Walking after a meal may do more than just help you feel "less full." Researchers say that interrupting periods of prolonged sitting, whether it's due to a long meal, busy workday, or just extended time on the couch, can help lower blood glucose and insulin. Their study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, compared blood glucose and insulin levels in groups of people who remained seated for five hours with the levels of people who got up every 20 minutes to briskly walk around or perform some other exercise for at least two minutes. These brief periods of exercise kept blood glucose and insulin from spiking. Previous research has shown that these short bursts of activity also burn calories: even people who fidget a lot in their seats burn more calories. Plus, getting up every 20 minutes and walking around loosens muscles that have clamped down when you're seated in one position for hours. In addition, this new research indicates that brief periods of exercise, sprinkled throughout your day, will help improve your metabolism, too.

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