Activity snacking may help with type 1 diabetes

A tiny trial presented at a meeting for a UK diabetes organisation showed that walking for three minutes every half-hour may help lower blood sugar levels.

In a study involving 32 individuals with type 1 diabetes, it was discovered that regular walking breaks throughout a seven-hour period helped lower blood sugar levels.

According to Diabetes UK, these “activity snacks” could provide useful, cost-free changes.

In the UK, type 1 diabetes affects roughly 400,000 people.

The illness develops when the body’s immune system targets pancreatic cells that make insulin.

As a result, the pancreas is unable to make insulin, which raises blood sugar levels. People must regularly take insulin medicine.

Calls made while walking
Long-term risks from high blood sugar include kidney failure, vision issues, and heart attacks.

Managing blood sugar levels day in and day out can be “relentless” for people with type 1 diabetes, according to Dr. Elizabeth Robertson, head of research at Diabetes UK, which provided funding for the study.

“It is incredibly encouraging that these results show that making a straightforward, doable change – like taking phone calls while walking, or setting a timer to remind you to take breaks – to avoid driving is possible,” she continued.

We eagerly anticipate more research to comprehend the long-term advantages of this strategy.

The University of Sunderland’s lead researcher, Dr. Matthew Campbell, expressed surprise at the size of the findings with low level activity.

According to him, “activity snacking” could be a crucial first step for some people with type 1 diabetes towards engaging in more consistent physical activity, while for others it could be a straightforward intervention to help regulate blood glucose levels.

As he said, “Importantly, this strategy does not seem to increase the risk of potentially dangerous blood glucose lows, which are a common occurrence with more traditional types of physical activity and exercise.”

32 persons with type 1 diabetes participated in the early-stage trial, which has not yet been published, and they performed two sessions of sitting that lasted seven hours each.

They remained sitting for one session. In the other, they divided the seven hours into three-minute intervals of easy walking (at their own pace).

They all ate the same foods during the seven hours and did not alter their insulin treatment. Their blood glucose were continually monitored for 48 hours following the start of each session.

Over the course of the 48-hour trial period, regular walking intervals led to lower average blood sugar levels (6.9 mmol/L) in comparison to prolonged sitting (8.2 mmol/L).

The amount of time people spent with their blood sugar levels within a healthy range was also extended during walking breaks.

For a deeper understanding of the advantages of this strategy, Dr. Campbell said he intended to do more extensive research over a longer time.

“The reality is that the vast majority of people should benefit from simple ways to encourage moving more throughout the day,” he continued.