The power of a good walk.

Dec 10, 2017

I walk a lot. Usually after meals; sometimes for sunlight & exercise, other times just because it's a habit and I like doing it. Sometimes even twice a day (eg, after breakfast and lunch).

But seriously, it's way healthier than I thought. This has been in-and-out of the news a few times over the years, but I was always like, "duh," until I finally looked at the data. In some cases glucose & insulin excursions are down 20, 30, even 50%! (mostly depending on distance covered, but also speed) (but mostly distance).

LOL there are like, a million studies titled "breaking up prolonged sitting improves everything" haha

And since the effects are acute, a lot of well-controlled RCTs -- the flipside of that is you have to do it every day... my opinion is that total glycemic exposure over the course of your life is an important metric (more on the MOA below); and with the rise of continuous glucose monitoring systems, this will be proven true.

Exhibit A. The biggest intervention (VERY long walks, 5-6 hrs/d), but most profound results (Manohar et al., 2012)

Exhibit B. Prolonged sitting vs. a 30-minute walk vs. 1.5 minutes walking every 30 minutes throughout the day (Peddie et al., 2013). Both of these interventions are very doable, imo.

In this study, the total daily glycemic exposure was 49, 47, and 30 mM / 9 h. 90 seconds of walking every 30 minutes cut glucose by almost half. HALF. Insulin also dropped precipitously. If you work a sedentary job, MAKE TIME FOR THIS. EVERY DAY. GO NOW.

Exhibit C. Sitting vs. 1 hour of continuous walking vs. 1 hour of alternating slow and fast walking (Karstoft et al., 2014).

Tl;dr: glucose dropped by about 20 points in both walking groups, insulin was almost halved.

Exhibit D. Sitting vs. 3 minutes walking every 30 minutes vs. 3 minutes of easy body weight exercises every 30 minutes (Dempsey et al., 2016).



It works in healthy people, type 1 diabetic patients, and type 2's... I haven't seen an example where it didn't work.

Here's the magic. Exercise suppresses insulin via sympathetic nervous system. This doesn't matter because a contracting muscle, or rather the contraction itself, recruits GLUT4 to the surface of contracting muscle to suck up glucose, to fuel the contraction. It doesn't need insulin to do this. Glucose-lowering this way also contributes to reduced need for insulin. This is a very healthy thing.

That's all for now!

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